Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There’s Nothing to Worry About


By Steve Ross with Olivia Rosewood

Last December after a yoga session Teacher Pio suggested that I read this book. Because of its title, I wanted to ask him, “Why, do I look sad?” Typical me after every practice, I was too serene to engage in an argument so I just let it pass. The next thing I knew I was ordering the book online.

The book lives up to its title—it is radically humorous…or is it humorously radical? If there is one message the book wants to tell the readers, it is thus: “To reside as love, joy, compassion, stillness, and grace is to reside as the divine within and without. And this is the true yoga.”(162)

Below are some excerpts from the book that left me “thinking” (later you’ll see why this word is in quotations):

“A concept is a framework of thoughts and beliefs in the mind as opposed to an actual experience in awareness. Concepts are labels that keep us thinking about the world, thereby preventing us from experiencing the world as it is. A concept may seem like a comforting answer to life’s mysteries but it’s not. Yoga at its best frees us from the prison of our concepts, relentless wanting, habits, and reactions, turning every experience, any circumstance, into bliss.” (17-25)

At one point, the author cautioned the readers not to believe even the “concepts” he presented.

(I have worked in the academe for more than a decade.)

“Psychoanalysis (therapy)…is stimulating to the intellect and holds some consolation for those who feel wounded. But consolation is of no interest to those who are adamantly seeking the truth…. Yoga’s aim is transcendence. The yogi’s practice (though) is to fully feel and allow an emotion, thereby going through it, as opposed to burying it or running away from it.” (159-160)

(My work involves understanding human behavior.)

“Conflict begins as a thought or feeling: wanting land, wanting power, wanting money, wanting control—just wanting.” (174)

(Oh, so that’s what teacher means whenever he says “Take out all desires from your heart,” which initially I found strange especially since I often wish others and hear people say “May God grant your heart’s desires.”)

“Religions often preach about good and evil. Yogis say it’s all grace.” (175)

(An article in Daily Om has a concise explanation on this.)

“Get your own world in order first, then, if you must, check out other people’s dramas.” (181)

(Desires and dramas—these things make us suffer.)

“If you are possessed by the mind, when you have an idea and that idea is rejected or attacked, you may feel as though you have been rejected or attacked. Just knowing where the mind ends and you begin is a substantial insight toward knowing who you really are. The mind creates thoughts, beliefs, and concepts and spends the rest of your life defending them against change, opposition…. You can go through life arguing, defending, offending, wanting, worrying, and eventually self-destructing.” (227)

(Again, I did not quite understand teacher whenever he says, “Control your mind.” I thought it was like asking me to look at my eyes. Now I get it.)

If the book does not help you in your search for enlightenment, at the very least it’ll get you entertained. Rating: two thumbs up!

NOTE: I post feedback only on materials that I extremely like. =)


9 thoughts on “Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There’s Nothing to Worry About

  1. “Desires and dramas—these things make us suffer.”

    Pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smritayahah – Yoga Sutra I:6

    These are the mental modifications that bring both painless or painful experiences. Desires, dramas, happiness, sadness… all bring suffering and pain. Part of this so called human experience.

    But how can we control these mental modifications and maintain our peace?

    Abhyasavairagyabhyam tanirodah – Yoga Sutra I:12

    Only through practice and non-attachment can we be able to handle the experiences brought about by these vrittis.

  2. Jon, ANG HIRAP!!!

    I was taught to honor my desires, especially the God-given desires (IF indeed these “concepts” are true). I know this could lead to a long debate/discussion.

    And I still want a Macbook Air! Ha ha! ;-D

    And what do you do if other people drag you to their own dramas?

  3. I think I’ve read this from one of Swami Satchidananda’s commentaries (can’t remember if on the Bhagavad Gita or the Yoga Sutra), but he said that desires are ok… as long as they are good desires… and as long as we keep ourselves from getting too attached to it.

    Another interpretation of the Yoga Sutra I:2 is that “yoga is the rechanneling of the energy of the mind”… so in a way, it’s acknowledging that we cannot really restrict the mind from having all these desires, thoughts,etc… because it is the nature of the mind to generate these things… what we can do is to rechannel these energy into something good… something productive… something that will benefit mankind or whatever. In a way, it is also honoring our desires… and as you said, our God-given desires.

    What to do if other people drag us into their own dramas? Practice compassion and non-attachment. (Easy to say but very difficult to practice… that’s why a hatha yogi wouldl say, “just do your pranayama & asanas, every thing else will follow”).

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