Part 3 - Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle
There is some very interesting psychology behind this that students of western thinkers (e.g. Freud, Jung, Fromm, etc.) will find familiar and, indeed, quite rational.
When an individual decides to be happy, something within that person activates; a kind of will or awareness emerges. This awareness begins to observe the jungle of negative thoughts that are swimming constantly through the mind.
Rather than attacking each of these thoughts – because that would be an unending struggle! – yoga simply advises the individual to watch that struggle; and through that watching, the stress will diminish (because it becomes exposed and thus unfed by the unconscious, unobserving mind!).
At the same time, as an individual begins to reduce their level of internal negativity, subsequent external negative behaviors begin to fall of their own accord; habits such as excessive drinking, emotional overeating, and engaging in behaviors that, ultimately, lead to unhappiness and suffering.
With this being said, it would be an overstatement to imply that practicing yoga is the easy way to, say, quit smoking, or to start exercising regularly. If that were the case, yoga would be ideal! Yoga simply says that, based on rational and scientific cause and effect relationships that have been observed for centuries, that when a person begins to feel good inside, they naturally tend to behave in ways that enhance and promote this feeling of inner wellness.
As such, while smoking (for example) is an addiction and the body will react to the lessening of addictive ingredients such as tar and tobacco (just to name two of many!), yoga will help the process. It will help provide the individual with the strength and logic that they need in order to discover that smoking actually doesn’t make them feel good.
In fact, once they start observing how they feel, they’ll notice without doubt that instead of feeling good, smoking actually makes one feel quite bad inside; it’s harder to breathe, for one.
Now, this book isn’t an anti-smoking book, and if you’ve struggled with quitting smoking then please don’t be offended by any of this; there is no attempt here at all to imply that quitting smoking is easy, or just a matter of willpower.
Scientists have proven that there is a true physical addiction that is in place, alongside an emotional addiction that can be just as strong; perhaps even stronger.
Part 4 - Different Kinds of Yoga