A Beginner's Guide to Happiness by Ira Israel, LA YOGA Magazine, October 2015Ira Israel, renowned psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher, guides us on an uplifting journey to explore the never-ending quest for happiness.

As children, we develop survival tools, which carried into adulthood can hinder our ability to show up authentically and in the present moment. Through acceptance, vulnerability, mindfulness, gratitude, and love, we can break the chain of these fear-based tendencies, or what Ira calls “unskillful solutions.” Yoga and meditation can be powerful vehicles to facilitate these shifts.

Our minds have a strong negativity bias and are often operating on autopilot. Ira examines the characteristics of the mind that cause meditation to be challenging. For example, he explains that you cannot tell someone not to think of something, but you can gently guide their attention to something else; some thought that serves as an anchor. Ira teaches a series of short meditations, each one introducing different techniques and anchors. In an exploration of mantras, visualizations, and breath awareness, these meditation sessions allow you to playfully experiment to find the method that resonates with you.

This DVD will benefit all experience levels on the meditation and mindfulness path. Ira builds a toolbox for practitioners and empowers us through the process. He invites us to explore our stories. Through his personal account of a life-threatening car accident, he encourages a radical acceptance of what is and the need to embrace every aspect of our lives. Inhale love; exhale anything that isn’t love. For more information, visit iraisrael.com.

A Beginner’s Guide to Happiness

by Ira Israel
Optimum Integral Wellness

Reviewed by Serena Deeb, world-traveled professional wrestler, Santa Monica-based yogi, animal lover, and avid adventurist. Twitter: @SerenaDeeb