I don’t know about you but being content can seem like an elusive dream sometimes. When experiencing contentment there is a quiet joy in its presence. Life feels easy. Your daily burdens are at bay, at least momentarily. And yet all too often it is a struggle to be content.
I began experiencing contentment in my life after I deepened my yoga journey which introduced me to tools and techniques to help me feel content more often. What a gift!
As a teacher, it is my goal to help students achieve contentment. There are times when I will focus specifically on contentment as a theme for a class, but the overall approach is that contentment should be inherent in the outcome of each class.
I was surprised when I deepened my study of yoga to learn that contentment is a foundational teaching in the Yoga Sutras. In these seminal teachings, the concept of contentment is addressed in two areas. First, santosha introduces the idea of seeking and resting in the state of contentment - unconditional happiness free from the shackles of wants and desires, fear and pain.
In the context of asana, the Yoga Sutra states that asana should be done with sthira (steadiness) and sukham (contentment). This is an idea that should be applied to modern yoga practice.
If you push your body hard, sweat profusely, or focus on complicated poses in your practice contentment will not be a likely outcome. However, if you build awareness, use a progression of poses from easier to more complex, link breath with movement and ultimately introduce stillness as the culmination of practice, contentment will be fostered.
How you practice matters!
There is one more notion of contentment. Sukham can also be described as the good space within. When you establish this inner good space by way of practice and lifestyle you more easily achieve contentment. Physical, mental and spiritual good space equal contentment. You create sukham and remove dukham, “the bad space within” with your practice.
Think of your body, when it is functioning well with no ailments, injury or pain you don’t even know it's there. This is a form of contentment. But stub your toe, get a sliver, or worse yet the flu and you will be very aware of your body displaced from the contentment you were in.
But what about the mind, how often are you mentally content? The mind is continually projecting in the future and reflecting on the past. Rarely is the mind resting in present-moment awareness where it can experience contentment. Modern lifestyles exacerbate the mind’s distractions. The use of devices and their inherent distractions, the proliferation of social media and their draw on the mind, and the sheer complexity of how we live these days do not facilitate contentment.
If you are like most people you need more contentment in your life.
Are you challenged with being content? Are you constantly seeking some elusive goal that will make you content? Do you struggle to feel at peace in the moment?
If you want to explore how yoga practices and techniques can help you be more content go ahead and book your free 30-minute consultation with me. I can give you some pointers on personal practice that may have considerable impacts on your contentment quotient.
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