not needing more: santosha.

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“Contentment is the fragrance of present moment awareness. Contentment reflects a state of being in which your peace is independent of situations and circumstances happening around you.” – Deepak Chopra


I have 5 rain coats, approximately 63 sweatshirts, 3 puffy vests and a thousand reasons to stop buying more clothes. And still, I open my closet
and think: “I need a new jacket.”

What is it about being a human that makes us think, “I need more”?

Is it that we are truly lacking? Or just that contentment with what we have right in front of us is dulled in comparison to our feverish desire for more?

It’s not easy to feel contentment: it’s easier to believe that happiness will magically descend upon my life when I’m wildly successful/ can do a handstand perfectly/ lose the last five winter pounds/ have a new jacket/ the sun is shining every day/ yoga classes are filled to the brim.

I do it constantly, this ‘wanting more’ business. I want more students, more money, more hobbies, more free time, more Girl Scout Cookies, more puppies, more flowers for my front porch, more friends, more tattoos, more sunny days, more Instagram likes.

And yet, the wisdom of yoga tells me that I will still not feel content even if I have all these things. Ridiculously, I’ll still want more.
The practice and philosophy of Yoga teaches me that true contentment, called santosha, is independent of external factors and must derive its potency from my internal state.  Not what I have, but what I am. 

Contentment is inaccessible if I am living in the future, hoping for life to be perfect one day when I have more of everything I don’t really need.

Santosha requires me to examine all the reasons and all the ways I look for fulfillment, validation, praise and worth outside of myself. And instead, look for contentment in the exact present moment, with exactly what I have and exactly who I am.

One thing that helps me find contentment is to meditate on the gift of the Present Moment with this Guided Meditation:

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

What does contentment (santosha) mean to you? How do you find it in the present moment? I’m looking forward to your answers,

-lisa

gratitude 2016.

gratitude balasana

I originally published this Full Gratitude meditation on my site three years ago. Since then, dozens of you have written me to tell me its profound impact on your daily life, on your family life, and on your ability to share in gratitude during the holiday season. To say it boldly, it may be the most profound article I have ever shared.

Recently I was completing an application to attend a leadership conference and this question was asked:

“Where can you bring more gratitude into your life?”

My first thought: everywhere.

But that’s a cop-out answer on any application, so I had to think of something specific. I’m always grateful for my job: bringing light and yoga into this world.  I’m always thankful for my students: they continue to receive my teaching with open hearts.  I’m always thankful for Russell Clive: my very best friend. And this year, I’m especially grateful for my family.  I’m grateful for my parents and sisters who helped me marry the love of my life and I’m grateful to my husband’s family for bringing me into theirs. I’m so grateful to be alive in a time when peace is possible, when reconciliation is more important than ever before, and when communities are banding together to support Love and equality.  In fact, I might say  that only reasonable response to being alive is Gratitude.

*  *  * 

I’d like you to practice this Gratitude Meditation to uncover a deeper present moment awareness.

Read each sentence aloud, mindfully.  Take a deep breath after you read it.  Pause. Feel it.

gratitude meditation.

“I live in gratitude.

Every day that I awaken and breathe, I am grateful.

Every day that I think a thought and feel my heart stirring, I am grateful.

Every day that I am upright and whole, I am grateful.

Every day that a creative idea becomes solid matter, I am grateful.

Every day that I face that thing of which I am most afraid, I am grateful.

Every day that I am given awareness of the smallest of beauties, I am grateful.

Every day that I am enlightened, given insight, have an epiphany, I am grateful.

Every day that I exercise compassion, understanding, and patience, I am grateful.

Every day that I encounter another living creature and engage, I am grateful.

Every day that I am hugged, kissed, and loved, I am grateful.

Every day that I laugh, I am grateful.

Every day that my family is healthy and happy, I am grateful.

Every day that my friends do well in the world, I am grateful.

Every day that I change someone’s life….. or that someone changes mine, I am grateful.

Every day that love is evident in my life, I am grateful.

Every day that I act out of anger, or from a place of frustration or a broken heart, I am grateful because each affliction offers an opportunity to learn about myself and my fellow man.

Every day that brings me a challenge and tests my spirit, I am grateful.

Every day that I am humbled by a mistake, I am grateful.

Every day that I am faced with seemingly unbearable odds, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and my spirit that is strengthened by these things.

Every day that I try, I am grateful.

Every day that I try AGAIN, I am grateful.

Every day that I can have some time to myself for quiet and reflection, I am grateful.

For every day that is NEW, I am grateful.  For every blessing, surprise, breath, song, word, hope, reason, and heart, I am grateful.

For this moment and for so many more, I give thanks, with a grateful heart.”

 

in gratitude,

-lisa

lisa14

the benefits of yoga.

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the benefits of yoga.

Like we need more convincing?  I’m heading to Peru for the next few weeks, following a life-long dream of sleeping in the rainforest (kindergarten teachers really do inspire our future). So, while I’m out of the country, here is a little motivation to keep practicing!

June 10

“Yoga makes you happy”… that one is my favorite!

See you soon,

-lisa