According to the yogis, happiness is not about “getting” from any external source and bringing in; rather it’s a practice of cultivating our internal propensity for happiness, growing that which we already possess. And for yogis, the body is an ideal tool to encourage our innate joy to blossom into every area of life.
This simple daily practice offers a way to tend to what I call “the happiness garden.” It will open the chest while strengthening and stabilizing the shoulders. That basic shape shift of “heart opening” interrupts the habitual hunch (over the phone, computer, car, meal, etc.) and will immediately uplift the spirits. Broadening and lengthening the ribcage gives the lungs greater space to expand. We can breathe bigger, fuller breaths, feeding the brain with oxygen, soothing the central nervous system, and releasing happiness hormones to free up some space in our heads and hearts.
Interlace fingers, flip the palms to face forward and then place the backs of hands on top of the head. As if pulling the fingers apart, widen the elbows and drop the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale to maintain that space at the tops of the shoulders and bas…