Santosha

In Monday’s meditation, we talked about connection, contentment, and gratitude. Santosha is one of the limbs of Yoga that means contentment. And, I believe connection and gratitude are both a product of and a means to feeling content.

If we pause in the present moment and feel gratitude for one thing in our life, we feel connected to that thing, be it a person, situation, or idea of how things are; and that equates to feeling content with our lives as they are. Maybe not perfect, probably not perfect, as that is a very limited view of things. Perfection is just our idea of how we think things should be based on past patterning of the mind. The only perfect thing is what is happening in the moment, this is where we are, who we are, and what we’ve created our life to be.

This moment. Pause. Feel gratitude. Connect. Be content.

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Gratitude

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So, we are almost five months into the year. January 1st, we set good intentions. By May 1st, they may have all been forgotten.

The last couple weeks have found me faltering on my path. Some personal challenges have created more emotionality than usual. We all have those times of feeling down and just not quite ourselves.
How do we right ourselves? One of the quickest, most grounding ways for me is to practice gratitude. Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame, I began a gratitude/happiness jar January 1st. I try, every day, to write down one thing that I was thankful for or a special moment that made me happy, fold it into a small scrap, and add it to my jar.

This has been a most meaningful practice for me to remember the every day beauties we have, be they small or large. If you have a jar, tell me how this practice has helped you. If not, why not start one now!

Or, at the end of the day, before sleep, call to mind that one thing from your day that brought you joy, made you smile, and lightened your heart.

Putting Yoga to Work

ImageThere are times in our life when everything comes to a grinding halt: an event we did not predict happens and we have to set priorities. This week, my mom went into the hospital unexpectedly. This is usually an immediately stressful situation for anyone. How do we begin to manage our stress hormone cortisol level shooting up, quickened breath, stiff shoulders? How do remain calm, centered, and focused when we are faced with a fear-inducing situation? How can we better be there for the person in need without letting our own worries impede wellness? And, how can we not become short tempered with others around us at that time?

This is where the practice on the mat, must be utilized off the mat. To use a much worn yoga phrase: Take your yoga off the mat and into the world. This phrase seems to be getting a bad rap right now as trite, not useful. But, I think it is an apt idea. After all, our yoga philosophy and practice study have practical application in our lives.

The first step when faced with a stressful situation is to notice that it is happening and creating change in our system. So, becoming a witness to the event. If we can take just that one moment pause, it begins to create a little space to assess.

Then, another common yoga axiom: Take a breath. It does give us space for pause, but physically, it begins to calm the system with the longer, deeper exhale. You may need to take five or ten breaths.

Move from a place of gratitude. In looking at the situation, is there something you can be grateful for? In my own situation, my mom did not have to have surgery, they could find nothing seriously wrong, she just needed time to heal. I was thankful for that, though I did not want to see her suffering and unwell. That moment of gratitude allowed me to see that the moment was temporary, and I could better be there to support her with what she needed. She is home now, and recovering nicely. 

The more I practice yoga and gain an understanding of the guiding principals and how to use the tools, the easier it becomes for me to pull out the right tool at the right time. Let me know how yoga has helped you in a time of need.

 

Reiki Principals

Just for Today
Do not Anger

Just for Today
Do not Worry

Honor Your Parents
Teachers and Elders

Earn Your Living Honestly

Show Gratitude
To Every Living Thing

Cultivating Gratitude

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you may have heard the words, “Take this feeling of yoga off the mat, and share it with those you surround yourself with.” Or, “Off the mat, and into the world.”

There is always the idea of spreading around the joy, good feelings and wisdom. I think gratitude is a choice. You can choose to follow the mind’s pull toward wanting more, or you can choose have contentment. In yogic terms: one of the kleshas, (mind’s afflictions), the mind’s attachment (raga) toward what is pleasurable, while having an aversion (Dvesha) from what is painful. Thus, you can choose Santosha, or contentment instead.

Not looking behind us to the past, or to the future, but living in the now of what we have. Then, sharing those good feelings. As you radiate your center of gratitude, others will feel it too. Maybe they will pay it forward.

Find at least ONE thing in your life to be thankful for every day.
Happy Thanksgiving.