What then is true happiness? To understand the root of happiness, we have to examine it side by side with the root of suffering. We suffer when we are degenerative towards ourselves. We suffer when we lack kindness and respect towards ourselves. We suffer when we see ourselves as “less than”. It’s also important to note that it’s very easy to hide our disrespect towards ourselves because it is normalized. It is so “normal” to feel shame over our bodies, our imperfections, our mistakes, our humanity. It is so “normal” to see oneself as somehow not good enough, so we need to buy things and change our appearance and have lots of money and hold a good title etc to prove otherwise. This causes suffering because there is an underlying belief that we are not good enough. Happiness then is to have this respect and loving kindness towards ourselves. That is the most basic thing. It has nothing to do with pampering ourselves or being lazy or quitting when the going gets tough. This loving kindness has to do with seeing ourselves in our imperfect humanity and respecting that just the same— nothing to prove, nothing to show off, nothing to feel inadequate about.
Practice this loving kindness towards yourself in all that you do— even in asana! Observe that internal dialogue. Do you respect yourself or do you berate yourself? Are you kind or are you cruel? Is there a sense of acceptance or is there a constant desperation to be something else? Always bring it back to the basic idea that you are worthy of respect and kindness, most especially from yourself! This is the basic formula for true and lasting happiness that no one can take away from you.