Yoga is SO much more than poses on a mat. It gives us tools and practices for richer, more wonderful, and more love-filled lives. The Purusharthas, for instance, are the yogic understanding of the four aims of life. Purusha means “soul” and Artha means “for the purpose of,” so really and truly this concept gets at “the purpose of the soul.” The first one, Dharma, is laws centered, it’s doing your duty and being ethical. The second, Artha, focuses on prosperity, making it the materialistic aspect of life. Next comes Kama, which means desire and gets at our pleasure and sensual gratification. Finally, we have Moksha, or freedom, the pursuit of a calm and loving existence obtained by liberation from the sufferings and troubles of the world.
I bring these up because a happy and whole life is one that fine tunes and balances these aspects of life to match your season and situation. All four are good and belong, problems only arise when one or more get over or under emphasized. For instance, a person could get high on Moksha and be all “blissed out” by doing yoga all the time, while neglecting her or his duty to family and necessity of money, shelter, food, clothes, etc. I think the key is to frequently evaluate what your and my life looks like right NOW, and divide our time and energies in these four aims as appropriate. A person in a high powered business career, for instance, would naturally and healthily need to focus more on prosperity, than say a yoga teacher. An actress or musician, conversely, would rightly place more emphasis on the pleasure side of life.
With this in mind, I invite you to reflect on your life. Observe what this season looks like and requires of you. Bring to mind your passions and purposes in life. Notice any way your life may seem a bit “off” from what would bring you and your circle the greatest wellness and joy. Then, view this all through the lens of the Purusharthas, and turn the “dials” up or down on the time and energy you spend on laws, prosperity, pleasure, and/or freedom as you see fit. I bet you greater bliss will follow!
Grace and peace,