Do you want to be happy?
I mean really, truly, from the depths of your soul, happy.
Are you ready for that kind of life changing happiness?
Are you willing to live the authentic path of yoga?
Because guess what? Yoga is the key to happiness!
I came to realize that yoga is the key to happiness on a particular trip I took to India. It is an experience I will never forget. I was in the beautiful town of Rishikesh and it had been a long and busy day.
I was exhausted from walking around dodging cows, shoppers and gurus. I had eaten so much delicious Indian food that I couldn’t handle anymore. The sun was setting and the Ghat (the river bank) was filling quickly with tourists and local devotees.
Keep in mind, Rishikesh sits in the Himalayas and is full of steep walkways and roads. A very special place, Rishikesh is a stunning entry-point for the Himalayas and has consistently been a beacon for spirituality. All types of devotees live there practicing yoga and meditation, providing and receiving spiritual guidance.
Rishikesh is a destination sought out by all kinds of people and often serves as a spiritual awakening for many. It is magical, and so was the moment I first laid eyes on the Singing Guru Pujya Swami.
I was feeling overwhelmed and distressed, yet the moment that Swamiji’s voice entered my consciousness all of my concerns melted away. I felt his sincere and divine grace. His words had so much intent that they vibrated with an intensely loving grace. I immediately took my group over to experience what was happening.
I discovered that every day Swamiji and his group would gather and perform at the Parmath Niketan ashram in Rishikesh. They do this as both a ceremony of respect to Agni the fire God, and as Vedic ritual practice for everyone to experience and benefit from.
The actual call is for the wellbeing of all creatures, everywhere. The children who are learning at the ashram also lend their voices. There are little theatrics and more of a focus on intention and devotion, I think that is why I gravitated towards it.
I was immediately mesmerized by Swamiji’s voice and intention. On his face he bore an incredible smile as he sang with not only his voice, but also his heart and soul. Happiness poured out of him and spread across the River Ganges and the Himalayan mountains.
I knew in that moment I was in the right place at the right time.
This is what I needed, to experience the power of yoga in this way, to understand that yoga is happiness.
Yoga is a path that serves a higher power and allows us to be the most effective instrument.
Swamiji does this every night at sunset, but this isn’t all he does. As I learned more about him and his yogic practices I became aware of why and how he is so happy.
He is the co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance which brings together people from different faiths to improve sanitary and hygiene conditions of children all around the world, and especially in India.
He works tirelessly to improve the conditions of the Ganga River and maintain it’s purity. The Divine Shakti Foundation provides a variety of services to women in need. Project Hope helps in disaster situations like the 2013 floods in India, and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The list goes on!
Nevertheless, you will consistently find Swamiji singing Aarti at the end of the day on the Ganga River with his terrific smile and love of life.
So now I practice real yoga and share my gifts with the world. When I leave Blue Osa I turn off the yoga teacher in me and I practice living in the world and serving others.
I love the experience of giving back to humanity and animals alike. Yoga is that kind of practice – it isn’t just asana! Or at least It shouldn’t be. It is about what you are connecting to all the time. If you are mindful of what you are talking about, how you are living and what your intention is, you can pave a path towards consistent happiness.
People like Swamiji are the epitome of this journey, they exude happiness naturally. Forcing happiness is not the path to happiness. I know many people who attempt this impossible task. No self-help books or youtube videos are going to show you how to be happy from your core, it requires a deep yoga practice that will push what you think you are capable of.
Can you imagine what happens we practice this much service to humanity and nature?
The value of selfless service is incredibly powerful.
My teachers and those with whom I collaborate with are avid community service activists. They consistently make time to serve those less fortunate. They share their gifts, and it pays off.
Of course, the irony of selfless service is that it benefits both sides. The person who gives their time, energy and love benefits just as much as the person receiving the assistance. This is the beauty of compassion, this is why it unlocks the gate of happiness.
I think again to the Singing Guru on the Ganga River – he is pure compassion. He exudes compassion through his love, his voice and his music. The people around him do their roles in improving their own lives and the lives of people everywhere. They are also full of compassion and happiness. The vibration is simply awe-inspiring.
Hearing Aarti like that, with so much love and happiness, is something everyone should experience. But you don’t need to go to India to do it, all you need is to practice yoga in its entirety. That is the path to real happiness.