As a new year approaches it’s normal to feel anxious to start fresh, set goals, aspire for more. I have always been someone who loves to set new intentions with a new year. In years past I have found myself doing vision boards, writing out specific goals and getting in the latest juice cleanse. This year though, I have decided to go with my theme “Happy Body, Heathy Body”. I believe that in order to have a whole body one must focus on ALL the areas of your body, soul and spirit. So that’s why this year I have decided to balance out, find equanimity and happiness through my purusharthas ( the four yogic aims of life).
The purusharthas have for different areas; Artha (Prosperity), Kama (Pleasure), Dharma (Duty), and Moksha (Freedom). Each playing a key role in finding a balanced life. I can speak for myself and say that when I focus heavily on certain areas of myself one will always become out of balance, that’s why this year instead of setting “goals” I decided to balance.
Dharma (Duty)– Your dharma lies in your 3rd chakra or manipura ( physically in your body this is your navel space, or I like to think of my gut). Your dharma is your purpose in life and about reaching ultimate happiness. Dharma includes your basic civic duties depending on your class, and time of life you were born.
In life I have different dharmas for example my dharma as a girlfriend is to love and support my partner, as a yoga teacher it is to inspire my students and guide them to enlightenment and as a friend it is to support my loved ones around me and share love and knowledge. The different areas of Dharma will be different for everyone and how it shows up for them. I like to think my basic dharma in all areas is to love and to love a lot. Throughout much internal and continued self work, this is what I have found to be true. Again, everyone will be different, what I know is that throughout different stages of life my dharma may look different but my ultimate purpose will remain the same.
Artha (Prosperity)- In yogic terms artha refers to “wealth” or “abundance” in basic it is the material needs you have in life to live. You can think of this as capital, shelter and food. How I think of it in my own life is where I am personally in life so remember that this also changes throughout different stages of life so take in account where you are right now.
I think for myself this shows up in ways of clothing (fashion), my home, and my social life. I know especially in a yogic life I have heard that material needs are not needed but I know for me as long as it is in moderation and done so with a good heart it is healthy to understand that all of these materials support us in living a life we love. AND THAT IS OKAY! I just want to express that it is okay to drive a nice car, or have nice clothes or like to eat out at restaurants. So understanding how to support your artha from updating your wardrobe (while getting rid of old belongings, I like to resell or drop off to Salvation Army) to cleaning out your nice car and maintaining your belongings that support your life is healthy.
Kama (Pleasure)– Kama is the happiness at the end of a goal or dharma. It is the pleasure you receive from getting a promotion (a bonus) or the feeling you get after winning a competition. Its the sensuality you get after reaching an accomplishment, in life I know there have been times where I have not allowed myself to be present in what I had just done. This practice allows you to be present in each and every moment to be able to receive the delights of the world. You could think of the love from your friends or family or the state of mind after meditation.
In life there are many pleasures that one can encounter so where you need to distinguish are the ones that make you more energized and feeling loved or the ones that take away your energy and leave you feeling depleted and negative. Allowing yourself to fully embrace the pleasures in your life and getting rid of the negatives will lead you to balancing out your Kama.
Moksha (Freedom)- This aim in life is my personal favorite as it focuses on the liberation in ones life. To allow yourself to not get stuck in the cycle of being born, dying and being born again. It tells you to let yourself be in your life where you are now, not where you are going or where you have been but to be fully you right now. I know I feel full bliss when I allow myself freedom to be me, not what I think society thinks I need to be or the “story” I have create in my own head.
I believe that in life I have gone through stages and changed along the way all while trying to come back to that state I was in as a child. It is their I find freedom in being completely and vulnerably me, not what I should or shouldn’t be but being free.
True Balance- Now how do you find balance amongst the four aims? I decided to sit down and write out how each area worked for me in four different bubbles while all the areas still overlapped.
Make sure to set the scene to ensure you come in with an open mind before, I like to have candles, my rose quartz crystal and to do a little bit of movement ahead of time.
For me personally when I start to feel out of balance I know more often then not something is out of balance in my life. The sheet below will support me in finding myself “Happy and Healthy”.