The second Niyama in sanskrit is Santosha, translated means contentment.
When you practice these internal and external disciplines, you will discover that Santosha, contentment is a choice. Yoga teaches us that it is not what happens in life, it's how we react to it that matters. Face it, S___happens. How do we raise our consciousness to achieve more ease? How do we remain calm in the midst of a storm?
This week was particularly stormy for me.
- I lost my beloved cat on Tuesday morning.
- Wednesday, the heavy winds and rain created power surges that set off alarms in my house throughout a sleepless night.
- Thursday, my ceiling literally caved in from the leak in my roof that was just "fixed" a few weeks ago.
How do we "go with the flow" and "roll with the punches"? Yoga teaches us how to remain flexible and cultivate inner strength.
I was reminded of this today as I had bodywork done by a very talented physical therapist and fellow yoga practitioner. Marge Kalfon observed that I've developed a bad habit of locking my knees. This adds unnecessary stress and tension to my back and legs and creates instability.
When I stand to ride the tram at the airport, I like to play a little game with myself. I try to move with the motion of the train without holding on to the bar. If my body is stiff and rigid, I fall. When I'm relaxed, I can move with the motion of the car. This is similar to windsurfing, skating, or partner dancing. Slightly bent knees utilize our core strength and allows for flexibility. Key properties for contentment.
How to be content with who and where we are? We are bombarded with marketing messages telling us that we are incomplete. Messages that we need to wear certain clothes, buy cosmetics or fancy cars and houses. Commercials brainwash us that we need drugs for every human condition. (This week I read there's even a drug for "episodes of laughter and crying". I kid you not. If I were diagnosed with cancer, I might expect to experience episodes of laughter and crying, don't you?)
How many feel like we need more education? That what we know is not enough? Or that there is never enough time? We constantly tell ourselves if we just hit this milestone...then....we can relax or be happy or have time to do what we want.
When we are focused and dependent on external events or external validation, we suffer.
When we practice Santosha, when we practice contentment with ourselves, focusing on internal disciplines and our own sense of balance, we find freedom and peace.
What if we all accepted ourselves as perfectly imperfect?
Can you give yourself the same love and compassion that you give to a crying child or a loved one? This is one way to practice contentment.
Try focusing on gratitude, stay present in the moment, and view each challenge as a lesson towards growth and development. Through flexibility and inner strength you build resilience.
How to stay in the present moment? Use anxiety or stressful situations to be a reminder to simply breathe.
Use the tools of yoga to increase flexibility, inner and outer strength and self compassion. Yoga is a rich toolkit encompassing breath work, meditation, physical and mental exercise and philosophy.
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker, and coach with a mission to inspire and empower others to feel their best at any age. She is also the Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive outlines seven steps that are fun and transformational. Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance at every opportunity.