The Yamas and Niyamas

Today I feel like shit. Yesterday really sucked more than a high school slut. I studied for 4 hours, worked for 10 hours, no break no lunch, then went home and did 3 more hours of homework.

I want you to know just because this blog is about happiness, it doesn’t mean that I have days that totally suck balls. But what’s important is recognizing these negative feelings, and proactively searching ways to turn them into something more productive and/or positive.

What you do when you are stressed out can really contribute to your overall outlook in life. Like when I am stressed, I sometimes go out and get hammered, and by the time the hang over comes around, I just pretend I feel like shit because of the hang over, then once that subsides, I feel better overall. But other times, I go run my ass off, or go do yoga and meditate.

Although I think the getting-drunk-and-recover method worked pretty well in college, now I am trying to channel my negative energy through more positive and productive methods.

So.. today I am totally going to do yoga! I started doing yoga when I totaled my car once upon a time (oh the tough life of an Asian female girl I tell you) and hurt my back a little. I did not respond well to all these muscle relaxers so I snuck into a yoga class at a 24 hour gym near my house. I used to be the most non flexible person ever, and I was really embarrassed (because there is absolutely nothing sexy about a girl who can’t even touch her toes) but sometimes putting yourself in the most uncomfortable place is the best way to grow as a person. And this is exactly what yoga did for me (and now I can touch my toes!). Besides yoga’s physical benefits, such as flexibility and toning, I fell in love with yoga’s mental and spiritual benefits.

I used to be really religious back in the day. I grew up super-duper Catholic, and I used to have dreams about the Virgin Mary and shit (ya, slightly .. uh weird). But in my mid-teen years, one of my really close family members attempted suicide. With the grounded belief that people who commit suicide go to hell according to Catholicism, after this tragic incidence, I slowly distanced myself from religion altogether. To me, she was a survivor, and I was thankful that she was alive. Any religion that tried to make me believe that this person was going to hell was not acceptable by me.

For a while, I did my own thing and by trial-and-error, I started to create my own set of moral system, such as stealing is bad, helping is good, ditching class when there is a test is bad, drinking is good, drinking and driving is bad, etc. Later on, it did get a little bit more complex, such as living to help otheres, searching for ways to self-improve, etc. But still, I was still yearning for a set of ethical guideline that was a little bit more solid to rely on.

Then I discovered yoga. As I said, I had fallen in love with it. Recently, with my roommate, I decided to pursue my 200 hour -RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) training program. I started taking some intense yoga classes and learned more about the philosophy there. Then I found exactly waht I was looking for: a set of life guidelines that did not judge anyone.

They are the Yamas & Niyamas. They are basically the 10 commandments for yogis. It is the most beautiful set of moral guidelines I have ever encountered, and they look something like this:

The Yamas: derives from the root word “yam” – “to rule/control.” Therefore, these 5 ideals represent the negative tendencies that individuals are encouraged to control, such as any  animal/instinctive behaviors that could occur in all human beings: (in italics… this is what I interpret these as)

1. Ahimsa: non- violence… acting kindly and problem solving with words and love..

2. Satya: truth.. being honest to yourself and others… and being genuine towards the world with my actions, thoughts, and emotions

3. Asteya: non-stealing/cheating… practicing fidelity and being respectful of others’ materialistic “stuff”… only taking credit for what I truly deserve to

4. Brahmacharya: self-restraint and moderation… not taking life to extreme in negative directions

5.  Aparigraha: non-coveting, no jealousy, or unhealthy competitiveness…  not being overtly envious of others… eliminating greed

The Niyamas : things we can strive to achieve within ourselves

6. Sauca: purity ..you can contaminate your body in many ways… drinking, drugs, thinking impure thoughts, having negative outlook, being jealous, being malicious… etc. I may be still guilty of being pure from drinking, I try to be mindful of some polluting thoughts in my head…

7. Santosha: contentment… being happy with the present, what you have, what you are, just being overall satisfied with the moment as of now. Putting regrets in the past, and putting worries in the future.. what matters is right now.This one really puts me at ease and helps me relax.

8. Ishavara Pranidhana: surrender.. some yoga theorists state that this is surrending and devoting to “God”… but I’d like to translate this as surrending to a higher being, and the complete belief that there is someone up there who will reward you for being a good person.. this could also mean surrendering to the fact that life is a journey, and not everything will always be perfect, but believing the ultimate good nature of this world

9. Tapas: discipline… knowing what we want, and putting efforts towards that positive change

10. Svadhyaya: study of self…ultimately, understanding one’s own identity can be the most satisfying achievement as an individual

Beautiful ain’t it?

We also learn how to be inclusive of everyone in the world. Using inviting and inclusive language is extremely helpful. You should try this… instead of saying, “I want you to..” say, “I invite you to… or let’s.” Instead of saying “don’t do this…” say, “let’s be mindful…”

Even if it’s something negative, such as if you want space from someone, instead of saying “I don’t want this person in my life” maybe, “I am inviting space between this person and I” (haha try saying that to your girlfriend or boy friend you are trying to break up with… jk).

But really.. the philosophy of yoga is more than just an hour of work out. For me, it is a lifestyle and the foundation of my spirituality.

And I will say, I feel 1043534 times better now after writing this post. My day is less shitty and more shiney.. Yayyy! Today I practiced turning my negative energy into something positive through writing and sharing my ideas with you guys. Thank you for allowing me to transform my energy into something better today.

Namaste.  🙂

What are you thankful for today?

On Christmas day, my friends and I did something different from what we usually do (which is getting fat and drunk while our parents feed us to a food coma). We went to help feed the homeless at a park in Anaheim. It was surprisingly a beautiful, sunny day, easily reaching 75 degrees.  I am from Colorado where I am used to snow and wind accompanied by bitch-slappin’ bitter coldness, so this really was absolutely an unbelivable winter morning and the only thing against my face was the warmth of the welcoming sunshine.

There was probably over 30 people who came to serve brunch, and instantly we all created this bond over being at a park together on Christmas morning, even though we were all a bunch of strangers. This event was initiated by a small neighborhood church, and people had already brought food for us to serve. We set up a few long tables so that it resembled a buffet line. Everyone was given different bowls of food, including stuffing, turkey, casserole, etc. I was given a big bowl of rice to serve.

The homeless people, who I believe reside at the park, started to walk down the buffet  line to get a little scoop of everything.

There were all sorts of people… people with missing teeth, families with little kids, old men with hair that hasn’t been washed in months, and old ladies in broken walkers.

Some homeless people were freakin’ comedians… One guy told me he didn’t want anymore stuffing because he was on a low-carb diet, as he walked away chuckling at his own joke. (Although I didn’t know if I should laugh or not?) Another guy asked me if I was hiding any teriyaki chicken under my coat (I wasn’t wearing a coat) to go with the rice (which I think was his attempt to make an Asian joke… ha ha funny funny… I am Korean and yes we hide teriyaki chickens under our imaginary coats at all times.).

Surprisngly, they all had one thing in common: a big non-greedy smile that showed nothing but gratefulness.

One toothless lady exclaimed, “This place is a paradise! Look at the weather and look at this blessed day!” as she eagerly took her plate of food from us and sat down on the green grass next to our serving tables to eat her meal. She meant it; her big smile revealed her true thankfulness for being alive, being fed, and just simply being around people on this Christmas day at her park. She looked happier than most people I know with homes that moment.

Happiness is subjective and relative; and things that can make us happy are all around us. Why is it that with our busy work schedules, flashing televisions, loud music, and constantly beeping phones that we easily fail to appreciate the little things that can make us smile? We bitch about our phones dying, being hung over, and being hungry for like, 30 minutes; yet we refuse to recognize the other 99% of good things happening around us?

With this thought in mind, I invite you to make a list of 10 little thing that you are grateful for today. I know it sounds corny, but it is an exercise that truly enhances your mood.

Today, I am thankful for:

1. having a home, in which I am comfortably sitting in to write this

2. my parents who love me unconditionally

3. my friends… and their millions of group chat iMessages

4. the opportunity to spend my Christmas at the park with the beautiful strangers who gave me an insight into happiness

5. my bed I can sleep in

6. not working today

7. having a job and working tomorrow

8. music!

9. my creative (yet random) thoughts

10. this bag of Parmesean Goldfish I just finished… yum!

Here is a poem to motivate your day…

Wrote a little poem to motivate your day…

Identity

You are what you eat
You are what you do
You are what you think

Eat only what makes your bones dense,
your lungs refreshed, your heart steady, and your brain rejuvenated.

Do only what makes you proud daily,
your day meaningful, your efforts productive, and your exertion of energy positively impact others.

Think only what makes you free and your heart light,
identify your darkest fears, and constantly color them with hopes, and create your castle of dreams.

Because there will be a time..

when your bones so strong they will keep your hopes up,

your energy so positive it keeps your heart steady,

and your hopes so meaningful you color life onto others,

then there will be times you get caught up, your creation, your existence, who you are, what you are made of, it becomes so complex you forget, oh you forget, what makes your castle, what is important, why dream, fears, oh I fear, no, no, no, stop, take a deep breath and just focus…..

It’s simple.

I am what I eat.

I am what I do.

I am what I think.

What makes you happy?

Hello everyone!
 
Welcome to my blog! If you know me, you know that I am 24 years old, a hopeless optimist, and I am happy. If you don’t know me, in addition to those things, you should also know that I am a girl, I eat a lot and get drunk enough, I work my ass off and I party harder. I love to express my ideas by writing and I get inspired by everything, everyone, and every new day! I am random as f*ck sometimes, and I do have the tendency to curse more than I should (so I do apologize in advance, but this way you can actually “hear my voice” in my posts). But this blog is truly for anyone who wants to get more motivated, learn more about themselves, and become happier.
 

… because this blog is about Happiness.

It is such a simple, annoyingly overused word, but it is also a very complex and multi-faceted concept. The idea of happiness is something that has fascinated me for many many years. Everyone wants to be happy, but not everyone acts, talks, eats, or thinks towards being happy; and the ways that people achieve the state of happiness are different for everyone.  Through this blog, I’d like to invite you all to reflect on the different factors of happiness in your own lives, traces of positive thinking, and the steps towards yours and others’ well-being, both mentally and physically. I intend to touch on many different subjects regarding positive thinking, but I don’t want to make this boring like reading a textbook (because no one wants to do that unless you are a college kid on Adderall), so I’m going to get random and weird on you. But it should be an entertaining and enlightening journey for all of us to discover what makes us truly happy and to be able to proactively seek out for the happiness-ingredients in our own lives.

Through reading my thoughts and stories, I hope that I can motivate at least one person in the world to start engaging in active positive thinking everyday to improve the quality of his or her life. This blog will also include personal stories and random thoughts, again it could get weird – I warned you. Some will make sense to you, and some won’t, but I am used to people reacting that way when I talk so just take what you can out of this to benefit yourself!

I’d like to conclude my initial welcome post with my own list of things that make me happy and things that make me unhappy. They could be things, people, or values. Identifying these items can activate your positive thinking process! I invite all of you to make a list of your own. It’s the first baby step into understanding ourselves. 🙂

Not Happy List:
– people who park really close to my car
– assholes
– working when I am really full
– dishonesty
– cheaters (both romantically or otherwise)
– hang overs especially when I have a lot of shit to do
– fruit flies
– manipulators
– not putting in my best at something only because I got lazy
– really really old drivers.. it is just not safe for anyone involved
– unnecessary mean behaviors
– unhealthy competition
– crying drunk girls… I just feel like an asshole even if I didn’t do anything to make them cry
– really slow internet access
– people who expect to receive but not give

Happy List:
– yoga
– South Park
– friends and family
– a good work out
– genuinely nice people who say genuinely nice things just because
– honesty, even if the truth kind of sucks
– a good heart to heart
– learning/hearing about peoples’ varying passions
– grateful people
– a really cool dream
– writing
– sushi
– really tasty IPAs
– naps
– hookah
– my iPhone
– helping people
– singing in the shower
– running on the beach
– laughing until I am crying
– waking up and thanking the world
– working hard and succeeding
– giving presents
– playing the piano
 
Well, that’s it for now!
Hopefully that helped you learn a little about me, and if you did this exercise on your own, learn a little about you. Feel free to post your own list here! What makes you happy?
 
Until next time…