As a native of Vermont I’m used to cold and snowy winters and up until now I was truly enjoying our long coastal winter. My husband and I just returned from Naples, Florida where the average temperature was around 75 degrees. As we left Florida to head up north to the land of frozen ponds and snow banks, I was not looking forward to getting off the plane and feeling that blast of winter air.
While down in Florida I wanted to spend every moment soaking up the warm rays of the sun but I also wanted to find time for my yoga practice. I found a class offered at our resort and was excited to meet my new teacher and experience something new.
My elegant new teacher spoke to us about santosha, or contentment. Santosha is one of the five niyamas from classical yoga. (The others are cleanliness, self-study, austerity and surrender to the divine.) Cultivating santosha means being satisfied with what is right now. Not reminiscing on the past or dreaming toward the future, but finding happiness with all that we have now. My teacher spoke to a small class of mixed generations and reminded us of how lucky we are. “Even though it’s only 60 degrees this morning at least it’s sunny” she said. Laughing on the in side I’m thinking, “This is beautiful! It’s only 10 degrees in Maine!”
Finding true contentment can be difficult. Our mind is trained to hold onto difficult memories or worry about the future. However, santosha can easily be practiced on the mat by taking time to appreciate the ability to practice, to be ok with the current condition of your body and to enjoy the movements and breath. If we are not happy today how will anything from the past or future make us any happier? So upon arriving in Boston I took a deep breath in and said “I am happy to be home!” It’s still cold now but spring is just days away. Enjoy each moment with peace and joy!
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment
Thich Nhat Hanh