Health, Happiness and Harmony

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Over the last sixty years, Bihar School of Yoga has not only propagated yoga, but has also focused on living yoga. We believe that there is a progression in yogic practice. Yoga is a system of disciplining the lifestyle. Yoga is a system of harmonizing the upheavals of mind and emotions. Yoga is a system to connect with the creativity which can be expressed in life for the betterment of ourselves, our family, our society, the nation and the world. Today the focus of yoga is health, happiness and harmony in life.


Yoga has become very popular as a therapy and many people are using yoga asanas to treat many kinds of physiological problems, imbalances and illnesses. But that is not the purpose of yoga, and what you do to help your body is not yoga, it is the practice of yoga asanas. Yoga is a science of life – it is a lifestyle. People call asanas, the physical postures, yoga. This is a misnomer. Yoga is a science, asana is a component of that subject.

People use the practice of asanas to attain health. Remember, yoga is not merely a therapy, yet there are three therapeutic aspects of yoga. First is the promotive aspect which enhances health. Second is preventive, which prevents imbalances occurring in the body and illnesses from debilitating the body. The third aspect is curative.

The focus of yoga therapy is not on the curative aspect, but on the promotive. When yoga becomes part of our daily routine and lifestyle, just as brushing the teeth, then practising neti and asanas can become part of our routine and lifestyle. In this manner, we can promote our health, we can develop better immunity, better digestion, better circulation of blood through the system, better oxygenation in the body, better management of the nervous agitations. We can improve the performance of all the physical, internal systems. That is the promotive component of yoga.

Once the health of the internal organs and systems of the body has been achieved, then the stamina, strength, immunity, and vitality of the body naturally stops the attack of external foreign agents from affecting the body and debilitating the body. Immunity and resistance power is greatly enhanced.

People do not find time to practise a balanced yoga sadhana, so they don’t really look after their health. At the expense of work or working too much, health is lost, and we suffer from various psychosomatic and somatopsychic illnesses. By the time we reach forty, we are under the attack of many illnesses and diseases. Yoga practices of asanas, pranayamas, mudras, bandhas, relaxation and concentration techniques give us the ability to strengthen and rejuvenate our bodies. We can harmonize and regulate our systems and attain optimum health.


For this one does not need to practise one hour of yoga. Bihar School of Yoga promotes a simple yoga sadhana. Early morning when you wake up, practise three mantras with sankalpas for health, wisdom and overcoming distress in life. Repeat mentally the sankalpa to attain health, total health, and chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra eleven times. Repeat the sankalpa of attaining clarity of mind, stress-free mind, wisdom and creativity, and chant the Gayatri mantra eleven times. Make the sankalpa to overcome all difficulties and distresses in life and chant the thirty-two names of Durga mantras once. The whole process will take five minutes, yet it will create a foundation to start your day on a positive, optimistic note. You will be aware and relaxed throughout the day. You will feel different strengths and stamina fill your entire personality and body. This is the first sadhana in the morning to connect with positivity in life.

The second sadhana is the practice of five yoga asanas: tadasana, tiryak tadasana, kati chakrasana, surya namaskara and one inverted posture. This is enough to maintain the health of the body, maintain vitality in the body, increase immunity, improve respiration and circulation. The practice of these five asanas will not take more than twenty minutes, and it can be easily done before breakfast.

Then come two pranayamas. One is nadi shodhana pranayama, alternate nostril breathing. Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right, inhale through the right, exhale through the left. Make sure that your breathing is long, slow and deep, and practise it for five minutes. The second pranayama is bhramari pranayama – plugging the ears with your fingers, inhale deeply and while exhaling make a humming sound. Practise this pranayama seven to ten times.

The pranayamas can be done before you embark on your journey to the office. It will take ten minutes, no more, however these two pranayamas will improve the lung function, stimulate the production of melatonin which helps to relax the body, senses and the mind, and also stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body, which allows your blood pressure to be regulated. Scientists today have seen that bhramari pranayama produces fifteen times more nitric oxide than normal breathing. Nitric oxide is useful for maintaining the health of the lungs.

The fourth practice is of relaxation when you come home after your work. For ten minutes lie down on your bed, close your eyes, release all stress and tensions from the muscles, joints and body. Release all thoughts and stresses from the mind and practise yoga nap. That will remove tiredness and weakness from the body, and it will rejuvenate the entire physical and psychological system.

Then at night practise five minutes of simple concentration to stop the agitation of the mind. Focus on your breath, observe the inhalation and exhalation between the navel and throat. When you inhale the breath comes up from the navel to the throat. When you exhale the breath goes down from the throat to the navel. Observe this for five minutes, and as you are observing the breath, moving up and down the passage between navel and throat, mentally repeat the mantra So Ham. So with inhalation, Ham with exhalation. Practise this for five minutes and then go to sleep. You will have better, deeper, relaxed sleep.

For attaining health, you can start with these simple, basic practices of yoga which do not cater only to the body, but also to the over active mind, emotions, distractions and dissipations.


Next comes happiness. The whole of society is searching for happiness today, but how to find it? When somebody is happy, a special chemical known as serotonin is produced and when one is seeking pleasure, a special chemical known as dopamine is produced. People mix pleasure with happiness, they don’t know the difference between the two. Pleasure is mental entertainment. For pleasure you try to entertain yourself by doing something different, like going to a party, to a disco, watching a movie, or going out with friends to have a good and great time. These activities give you pleasure. There are people who drink and smoke for it gives them pleasure. They feel they are able to relax.

Pleasure is not happiness, it is momentary, it comes and goes, and it becomes addictive. Pleasure seeking produces dopamine in our bodies, which makes us more introverted, more addicted to the pleasure-seeking desires, thoughts and actions. When one is happy, serotonin is produced. This happiness is much more than the normal pleasure that you achieve. It lightens up the body, it lightens up the mind, it lightens up the spirit. It keeps the feeling of optimism, hope and goodness alive. People have forgotten how to be happy in their search for pleasure.

So how can we be happy while living our normal pleasure-seeking life? Smile at everyone, that is the first step. Find time to laugh jovially for five minutes every day. Cultivate optimism, inspire others and increase these moments of joy and happiness by one minute every day. Don’t see a problem as a problem, but as something which you can easily overcome if you apply the wisdom, skill, training and the understanding which you have. Everything is possible.

My Guru, Sri Swami Satyanandaji, used to say, “What we live in our life is nothing but our own mind.” Our thoughts, our desires, everything that comes from the mind, is what we live in our daily life. There are very few short moments when we can separate ourselves from the mind, even at night in sleep separation becomes difficult. However with practice it becomes possible to consciously separate the mind from the desire of pleasure and connect it with the experience of happiness. Try this and you will greatly be benefited.


Harmony within oneself, harmony in the family, harmony in society – how can that be achieved? Not only through material pursuits, but also by training our mind and emotions to do the right thing at the right time, to think the right thing at the right time, and to act in the right manner at the right time. This will bring harmony into our life, our family and our society. These are the roles that yoga fulfils, not only through asanas, but as a complete holistic science of life.

This is the theory of Yoga Chakra, starting with health, tweaking the body and mind to remove the imbalances, to develop the coordination and harmony of the internal systems, to manage the mind, the stresses, the tensions, the anxieties. This changes the quality of mind by making it more happy, optimistic, creative and inspirational. Then through our behaviour, through our karma, through our jnana and through our sentiments, we live and express the beauty of life.

That is the subject of yoga, which our Guru, Sri Swami Satyanandaji, and his Guru, Sri Swami Sivanandaji, have propagated. Yes, we do start with our body, yet let us not forget the aim of yoga, which is the awakening of the human personality and nature to attain, health, happiness and harmony; to attain peace and prosperity in life. Therefore, our humble request is that you give yoga a chance in your life.

17 July 2021, Online message delivered to the Law Department, Delhi University, on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga (Extracts)