The very first topic in my 100 days of Blogging challenge is: Bliss.
"Bliss" is quite the buzzword in the yoga community and the 'new age' community. Sweaty yogis will say, "I was so blissed out after that savasana" or "That class/experience was complete bliss". The Bliss word gets thrown around a lot, and one would think it is a pretty good thing to reach a stage of bliss, right? Let's inquire...
Let's start with a working definition of Bliss (feel free to add onto this definition in the comments below). From what I gather, Bliss is joy, elation, great happiness, the ecstatic joy of heaven. As a verb it is reaching a supreme state of happiness, sometimes the elation is so strong that you may even become oblivious to everything else.
Being the science minded type, the first questions that come to mind are:
What exactly is going on at a physiological level when we have entered into that "bliss" state of being?
That one is pretty simple. The act of trying and relaxing with yogic breathwork (physical asana practice), induces bliss at the end of a sustained practice. Beginners may struggle with this at first, but over time it comes. Breathing with movement and reaching 'flow state' during a yoga class can also result in a flood of serotonin to the brain (resulting in Bliss) when the body finally shuts of the sympathetic nervous system.
How can I recreate "Bliss" on a daily basis?
a. Commit to doing something that makes society better everyday.
b. Commit to self care through yoga and meditation, or some other physical endeavor that recreates that flowstate for you.
How can I bring myself closer to the "Bliss" physiological state throughout my normal day.
Mindfulness practice in the morning. Check out this simple video tutorial I made for non-dogmatic mindfulness practice on the youtubes.
Is Bliss a valuable feeling/emotion to have, or can I get along just fine without it?
I would say that eudaimonic well-being is the best kind of happy that you can be... not sure what that word means? Then you may want to keep reading.
Do we need to be happy all of the time? It seems like a tall order. I was just listening to a podcast today (Joe Rogan interviewing Rhonda Rousey - the Women's World Champion UFC fighter) and something she said stuck with me [minute 11:14]. Rhonda said that she:
'was brought up not to think it was her mission in life to be Happy, but it was her mission in life to leave the world better than she found it'.
This goes along with her don't be a #donothingbitch #dnb campaign, which emphasizes that her body and and (all muscles on it) is for her sport - not for her to get a free ride and live off of somebody else. I like this gal, she is kind of a badass. What I took home from that statement, is that you can't expect to be happy 100% of the time, but you can do things to help society and help the world that will leave you feeling fulfilled, and even "Blissed Out".
Researchers from the Annual Review of Psychology put happiness into two camps:
1. The hedonic approach, which focuses on happiness and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance.
2. The eudaimonic approach, which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning. It also emphasizes a connection between body and mind.
These authors, Deci and Ryan (2001) suggest not placing too much priority on material goods which are associated with controlled motivation and focusing on close relationships, personal growth and community will satisfy basic needs, develop authenticity and promote eudaimonic well-being.
There you have it... in order to keep your "Bliss-tank" full, simply work on:
Your closest relationships, your spouse, children, friends and closest colleagues. After returning from a summer of travel and adventure, I came home eager to start nurturing my friendships, because they mean something to me 9and help me stay blissed out). Spending time with the people I love, and being fully present during that time, is the most practical way that I know to remain in a state of gratitude and bliss.
Work on your personal growth, by committing to learning something new. This can be anything from yoga to another language, to learning to cook something new and healthy. Personal growth comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the person. Writing out your goals and posting them where you will see them daily can help you focus on your personal growth. Surrounding yourself by others who are also committed to personal growth helps a ton too...
Being involved in your community, in a way that is authentic and meaningful. Walk or bike instead of drive. Connect with strangers in line, or at a stop light. Be grateful for the community you live in, and the people that make it up. Give back to the community, whatever that may mean to you.
You want bliss? Then you create bliss. It is at your fingertips.
Engaged in the movement toward more functional fitness. Mama, entrepreneur, leader, mentor, and co-creator of Clubbell Yoga.
Co-Creator of Clubbell Yoga, Movement & Performance Specialist, Head Coach at RMAX International