Happiness as a Habit


Last night, I taught a yoga class that was undeniably…off. I was covering for a teacher I admire and respect and immediately allowed that fact to intimidate me. I spoke too fast, forgot some poses in the second standing series, ran to my phone to switch back to music after my brother called in the middle of class, and tripped over someone’s water bottle.

If yoga is a microcosm for life, that class would represent one of those terrible days, weeks, or seasons in life when nothing seems to go your way. The standard phrases start running in your head: when am I going to catch a break? It can’t get any worse. I’ll do better tomorrow.

But it wasn’t as though the class I was bombing was pass/fail, nor is the bad day. It’s not as if there is a set time period for everything to go wrong; if you notice on Wednesday that you’ve been having a hard week, it’s not a guarantee that the rest of the week will also be hard. Similarly, if you think you’ve run out of luck today, you don’t need to wait for tomorrow to assume it’ll be better then. In the case of the botched yoga class, I had to put the students into a forward fold, take a breath myself, and remind myself that we still had twenty minutes left, which was plenty of time to recover.

Happiness can be a fleeting feeling you get by accident, or it can be a habit. Committing to finding happiness in this moment and the next gives you a better chance of actually enjoying your life, as opposed to rushing through moments that don’t feel good. No one wants to wait around to feel good again, and no one has to. Developing the habit of seeing each moment as an opportunity will serve you and those you love for a lifetime.

And just so you know, the end of that class went about the same as the start – I got distracted giving an assist and kept everyone in wheel for longer than I said I would. But I started over, again and again, until the last second of savasana. And I still had fun.

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