“By contentment, supreme joy is gained.”
– The Yoga Sutra 2:42
“Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have.”
– The Bible 1 Timothy 6:6
In my last blog, I talked about anatomical dimensions and spatial planes, and I will resume the discussion of the element of Space in dance next week, but with the start of November, I wanted to take the opportunity to infuse some contentment and gratitude in my practice and offerings.
If you’re reading this in real time, there’s suspense over the outcome of the US Presidential Election, and although we have done our part in voting and promoting a fair and democratic election process, it can be hard to relax as we await the results.
And yet, this is exactly what the yoga philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra** says to do, what the Bible advises, in fact what all major wisdom and faith traditions suggest. Act, yes, but also don’t be attached to the results, trust that you have done what you could, have patience, and in the meantime, be content. No matter what circumstances may arise!
Patanjali uses the word Santosha or contentment and in his translation of the Yoga Sutra**, Satchidananda explains: “As a result of contentment, one gains supreme joy. Here we should understand the difference between contentment and satisfaction. Contentment means to just be as we are without going to outside things for our happiness. If something comes, we let it come. If not, it doesn’t matter. Contentment means neither to like nor dislike.”
In his classic book Light on Yoga**, Iyengar discusses the effects of this state or lack thereof: “Santosa or contentment has to be cultivated. A mind that is not content cannot concentrate…a contented man is complete for he has known the love of the Lord and has done his duty. He is blessed for he has known truth and joy.” It would seem that contentment is key to our spiritual growth.
Humming Bee Pranayama
This week in yoga, we’ve been practicing contentment and relaxation with “Yoga Nidra” and “Humming Bee Breath” practices, videos on my YouTube Channel.
Contentment Practices for Daily Life
Bringing yogic philosophy into a modern context, Judith Lasater also celebrates the benefits of Santosha in her book, Living Your Yoga**: “Contentment asks for only one thing: that you truly live in the experience of the moment. With contentment comes a lessening of fear. And with this comes the ability to share the most important thing you have been given: your love, your wholeness.” Lasater also recommends a host of contentment practices and mantras for daily living to try in addition to yoga and meditative practice:
“Contentment Practice: You can train yourself to be aware of your impulses toward greed. Whenever you find yourself feeling greedy about time, food, love, or something else, I suggest that you practice this Mantra for Daily Living. There is always enough. You can say it either to yourself or out loud. As you do, invite contentment into your heart…Make your own list of what strikes you about the life you have been given. If you’d like, you can develop your ‘contentment muscle’ by keeping the list going. Add to the list each day or however often works best for you…Return what you borrow; give away what you really do not need…”
Mantras for Daily Living:
- I live with contentment.
- I am filled by the life that I have been given.
- There is always enough.
- I can’t be greedy and grateful at the same time.
- What can I be grateful for right now?
In recent years, I have begun keeping a daily gratitude log, and have recently added an abundance list as well. These types of practices help me feel happy and content every day. Since I did “The Artist’s Way” this year, I’ve also picked up noticing synchronicity (also known by some as blessings or answered prayers) and I am bowled over by recent synchronicity in my life.
How amazing that my (delayed) yoga training managed to JUST complete in time for a recently-announced November lockdown? And that the very day I had my practical exam, I was offered a new online yoga class with Tanzraum, one of the studios I currently teach ballet? It’s uncanny, and I’m working to notice all these instances where things align.
A Few Fall Poetry Faves
Ballet: Centre Tendu
This week we’re developing basic classical ballet technique and practicing spatial ideas in a Centre Tendu combination as foreshadowing of more spatial fun next week:
Got a new collection of dance playlists cleaned up for late fall and my online teaching while on lockdown again, including this
Late Fall / Thanksgiving Dance Playlist on Spotify which I hope you enjoy.
In observance of this time of year of harvest, gratitude and celebration, in November I am offering one of my favorite coaching tools to one person weekly. This is the Essence Conversation, and it is about a 90-minute conversation about how you are showing up in life. How would you like to show up this holiday season? Enjoy this complimentary coaching session with me by making an appointment on my Calendly calendar in November. It’s a transformational conversation all on it’s own, and you’ll come away with actionable steps to show up your best for the holidays, into 2021, and beyond!
Where are you practicing contentment this week?
** I have included links to recommend some of my very favorite books and as a reader, lifelong learner, and academic I hope you enjoy my recommendations. These are Amazon Affiliate links, and if you purchase them I stand to receive a percentage, cool!
DISCLAIMER: A Blythe Coach recommends that you consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.