The search for peace and happiness is a goal that many people spend endless years of their life trying to complete. Every person wants to find the secret to contentment, to find the key to being truly happy. Through my life experiences of combating childhood torture, and the compulsion of counting that developed to counteract the pain, I believe to have found the answer to finding your own breath of happiness through yoga and a healthy mindset on life.
I am the author of Finding My Breath: My Journey from OCD to Yoga.
At a very early age I developed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). My obsession was to count things continuosly to the point that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Basic conversations were impossible, as was learning. This obsession affected my entire life until I found yoga. Yoga generally decreases anxiety, but with me it was more about the focus of the mind. As I practiced yoga, I noticed that my mind needed to focus on my breath and the sensations in my body, therefore lessening my need to count. Also, learning to live in the moment helps me because with each inhalation, maybe the counting would interfere, then with each exhalation, I could let it go. The more I practice, the more I train my mind.
I believe that if a person wants to be happy, they can. In this life, we are faced with challenged every day, every minute, every second. You can’t always choose what life throws at you, but you can choose how you deal with it. To be truly happy is to let go of your preconceptions of who you think you should be or who you think people want you to be. You are able reach inside yourself and find your inner happiness to allow yourself to be happy and deal with whatever situation life throws at you. Someone diagnosed with a deadly disease, for example, can jump off a bridge and end their life right then and there, or he can choose to live with the time that he has left happier than any other person before him. I choose to live my life as if it were my last days. This way, it gives me a greater appreciation of life – it’s a good reminder that life is very precious.
Life is like a poker hand. There are times when you’d get two aces, and there are times when you’d receive a Jack and a three. You have to play the hand that you are dealt with that day. By living that way from moment to moment, and from breath to breath, it is much easier to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and just live in the direct moment. Even if the direct moment is miserable, you have to see if you can let go with an exhalation. There’s a way to do it through practicing yoga.
Yoga can help get you there because it takes you inside of yourself. You have to face yourself and deal with yourself before you deal with anything in the outside world. Once you know yourself from that perspective, it’s much easier to become happy with yourself. If you want something bad enough, the answer is “Yes, I can have it.” If you want happiness, you can find it. Somehow, somewhere, you can be happy.