Friday, December 4, 2009

217/336 - Snow! and a Recipe for Happiness

Wednesday 6:30 with Sherry
Thursday off.

It's snowing and has been since early this morning. In some places, the ground has accumulated as much as 1/4". Here in Houston, that's incredibly rare and enough to make people wonder whether they should brave the traffic. The radio stations are all reporting many minor accidents. It makes me wonder whether there really are more accidents today because people are freaked over the snow, or if they are just reporting accidents that they ordinarily would ignore so they can make the snow out to be a big hazard.

Anyway I can't wait to take my dogs out for a romp. They are snow dogs (Samoyeds) and they have never seen what they were born for. And then I might just dare the treacherous roads for another Bikram class.

Wednesday's class was good. My stamina improved and I made it through standing series without even wanting to sit out a set. And then I got stuck with the hiccups of all things between the Camel sets. I made it through Rabbit without coming out early, and Sherry tends towards long rabbits. With her timing, she manages to give long holds in most of the poses, full Savasanas, and still finishes a few minutes early. I don't know how she does it -- maybe the laws of physics are different in her classes. (Maybe at home she can make magic grits -- and bonus points to anyone who gets the reference).

The other first in Wednesday's class was a hamstring cramp in the right leg when trying to pick up my foot in Standing Bow. The foot would go up, I would grab it, and then CRAAAMP. So I extended it, and tried again. Fortunately, the stretch you get in the leg when its actually the standing leg worked things back to normal, and I was fine from there on out. I don't know what caused the cramp, but I'm taking it as a sign that something is happening in my hamstring, and that's probably a good thing.

The day 285 meditation focuses on an incredibly powerful and challenging thought: "To become happy, we simply have to stop making ourselves unhappy." My first reaction was that it can't really be that simple, and the next thing Gates says is that most people don't think that it can be that simple. So I guess, at least at first blush, I was in the majority.

Studies (and I don't have any cites off the top of my head) show pretty consistently that happiness has very little to do with wealth. These studies exclude the truly destitute. But for people who have the basics, meaning food and shelter, the rich don't tend to be any happier than the poor or the middle income groups.

The next thing that seems to be true is that happiness depends much more on a person's attitude than on circumstances. And perhaps that means that happiness is more of a disposition than it is a result. In yoga, contentment is one of the things that we should practice. Once again, being content is an activity, its not something that happens to us.

Give all the above, I think there's probably a world of truth to the idea that the way to become happy is to stop making ourselves unhappy. In class, I've certainly learned that I can turn the class around with a smile. I can make a bad class better by refusing to dwell on how much things hurt, and in its stead, start telling myself how grateful I am for the opportunity to be there. And if I can do it in class, then why not elsewhere. I think I will try it out this afternoon by tolerating the drivers who simply can't deal with the idea of a little snow in Houston.


Bosco said...

That's a wonderful, simple truth about happiness. I am grateful that all of my kids, while in Junior High, heard the following closing statement, each and every day, at the close of homeroom announcements over the loudspeaker: "Have a great day, or not; the choice is yours."

"And what are these bushy things in front here?"


"Trees! That's good. Just shout it out when you know the answer."

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