Yoga’s Ten Commandments for Happiness

The Yoga Sutras is a key yoga text, written in the 2nd century BC by a sage called Patanjali. It’s the corner stone of modern yoga, but it’s far from being a ‘how to’ manual for doing yoga poses. In fact, Patanjali only gives one instruction for how to do the kind of yoga that we 21st century students practice on our sticky mats (he says we need to have a balance of strength and softness in our poses, being neither too forceful nor too cruisey). What the Yoga Sutras is really about is happiness. In fact, it’s kind of an ancient handbook for happiness.

I’ve been studying these sutras for many years now and I’m constantly amazed by how effective they are at providing practical tools for living a happy, contented life. There’s a common theme running through all of them: Be good to yourself, do good for others. I’ve adapted that into the personal mantra: “What can I learn and how can I help?”

Like all good ideas, Patanjali’s wisdom has to be put into practice before it gets you anywhere. So, in my life and classes I am practicing Patanjali’s “10 Commandments.” Here they are simplified -

1. Be considerate
2. Communicate honestly and kindlyYoga-happiness-inside
3. Stop wishing you had what other people have
4. Moderation
5. Don’t be greedy
6. Be clean and tidy
7. Be content
8. Make the effort
9. Never stop learning
10. Let go