This Is How Meditation Can Focus Your Mind—& Help You Choose Happiness

Is happiness a choice? Master yoga teacher and Purna Yoga co-founder Aadil Palkhivala, who began his study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar at the age of 7, believes it is. Here, he explains how focusing the mind and opening your heart can help you get there.
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Happiness happens when we choose it over trying to be like everybody else, trying to have what others have. When we compare ourselves at all times to others, we feel constant discontent. Santosha (contentment) brings happiness. And contentment must come from a constant striving for happiness; happiness stops when we stop growing or stagnate. We are here to evolve. 

Contentment has nothing to do with your situation. It’s a feeling that you develop inside yourself that all is well now and it’s going to get better. It’s something that you choose. In yoga, you use your mind to create contentment. It’s an active process, not a passive process. That’s why we do yoga. You can never get the perfect pose, yet you must always try for it. That balance of tapas (hard work) and santosha is the key player here.

Happiness is not something that happens to you—happiness is a choice. I had hurt my back a while ago and was in absolute agony. My chiropractor said, “How come you are laughing and happy when you are in so much pain?” Happiness is something I can choose. Why choose to be unhappy? That only makes it worse. It’s about controlling your mind. Most people are slaves to their minds rather than than the owners of them.

How Meditation Can Help 

Certain techniques that we teach in the course will help you focus the scattered energy of your brain. There is always discontent. [These techniques] bring the mind’s energy into focus so you can use your mind rather than be a slave to it. And they don’t take two hours to do, they take two minutes. The meditation where you sit around and try to make your mind still is basically a waste of time. [Beyond mindful meditation], we want to make the heart full. True happiness is in the heart, not the mind.

Inspired to learn more? Join Aadil Palkhivala's six-week Master Class to align your asana and transform your life through yoga philosophy. Sign up now!