What has yoga got to do with happiness?
Goals are the means, never the objective
Just as yoga poses are means to transform a practitioner's body and mind - to raise our awareness, strengthen, make nimble and lighter, enrich our experiences - our goals in life serve the same purpose.
To get into a pose may take no more than 10 seconds but the work required to prepare the body for a pose may take a few months to a few years, depending on individual. During these few months/ years, we experience what we need to experience for our growth.
By the nature of goals/ yoga poses, they are never meant to be static positions that one should stay for too long. Instead, we move on to the next once a goal/ yoga pose is achieved and in so doing, we keep growing as persons.
It is in the growth, not the goals that we become happy, which is the objective.
Feed your soul, not your ego
Where the motivation to do a yoga pose stems from a desire for betterment and self-mastery (feeding the soul), happiness naturally follows. But where it stems from a desire to achieve and impress others (feeding the ego), it inevitably leads to unnecessary stress, anxiety, emptiness and/or unhappiness. Ditto with goals.
Sit with the good pain, seek remedy for the bad
Good pain in yoga refers to the soreness that will go away as soon as we release from a posture but will have lasting benefits to our bodies - it is recommended that we sit with it for the amount of time it is required to yield its benefits.
Bad pain refers to the sharp pain that comes from abuse and/or wrong practice, and lingers long after we release from a posture - we should stop doing it and seek remedy.
Yet in a bid to be happy, we so often pull away from struggles that will make us grow (the good pain) and stick with the sufferings that we think will help us achieve (the bad pain).
Success & happiness will chase you; you don't have to chase them
In yoga, we say the poses will chase you; you don't have to chase the poses. What it means is that when the body is ready, the poses will come naturally, sometimes to your very own surprise.
Focus on the work and don't be too hung up to achieve or be impatient for results because once you've done the work, you will attract the opportunities.
Your experience will be altered by the presence/ lack of strength and flexibility
Strength and flexibility are supposedly opposing - if something is strong, it cannot be bent easily.
In yoga, having just strength makes the body stiff and unbendable for poses while having just flexibility makes the foundation weak and holding impossible. Without one or the other, the body will be shaky and experiencing strain.
Yoga's form, balance, beauty and grace can only be achieved and felt by the presence of strength coupled with flexibility. Happiness then, is a natural by-product of this experience.
If you ask me, that's very much how Life works too...
Your experience of life will be altered by the presence/ lack of strength (resilience and grit) and flexibility (openness and adaptability). When you achieve both, Life's form, balance, beauty and grace unfolds.
Flow (Happiness) happens when consciousness meets focus
Flow in yoga is moving meditation - when you exercise consciousness and focus to synchronise breath with movement (one breath, one move), a state of flow is achieved.
Likewise, the flow in life happens when you exercise consciousness to immerse yourself in something that nurtures your soul and see it through (focus).