Contentment: Santosha

Santosha, meaning contentment in Sanskrit, is one of the niyamas of the ethics of yoga. Contentment is a difficult concept to grasp. It is a feeling of fullness and satisfaction yet it is not laziness or avoidance of difficulties. As I read Deborah Adele's chapter on contentment in Yamas and Niyamas, I realized that anytime I started to feel content in my life I would chastise myself for being lazy, lacking ambition or settling for less than what I am capable of. So I spent some time observing what contentment really is and how I can be less afraid of it. I found that contentment is the ability to feel grateful for what is happening in each moment. It is the feeling of accepting that what is currently here in this moment is exactly as it is supposed to be. Contentment does not take away from my ambition, my hopes and my dreams but it does allow me to be fully present and thankful every step of the way. It allows me to look around and be in awe of everything that is already happening so naturally and effortlessly. As Deborah Adele writes, "every moment is complete". I think it is worth your thoughts and attention to find how contentment serves you in your life. 

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 "Discontentment is the illusion that there can be something else in the moment. There isn't and there can't be. The moment is complete." Deborah Adele on Santosha: contentment . 📸 by Eastman Garcia 


What Can I Add?


When I sit down to meditate an abundance of thoughts fill my head. I think of them like a snow globe swirling about but after a few minutes, some days many minutes, they begin to settle. Tonight as they settled one glowing thought seemed to fill my whole snow globe. What can I add? After a few extremely busy months I noticed that my thought process had become more about subtracting things. Thoughts like, “I would feel better if I didn't eat sweets, drink coffee, etc.” frequently entered my mind. What can I add though? When this thought popped into my mind I had a shift of perspective. It isn't about what I can subtract from my life to make it better, it's about what I can add. For me those additions are more joy, more adventure, more fresh fruits and veggies, more laughter, and more compassion. Sure, there are things that I do everyday that I would be better off without but focusing on what needs to go has never helped me let it go. Focusing on what positive new things I can add to my life naturally takes attention away from the negatives and slowly those things that are no longer serving me disappear. So, I encourage you take a moment to write down somethings you would like to do, see and feel. Allow some room for those in your life. 

How Running Helped With My Anxiety

Ever since I was a small child I've had anxiety off and on. When things are going smoothly I feel great but when the bumps in the road come, as they do in life, they bring up a lot of anxiety and stress. For me, the anxiety feels like tightness in my chest, irritability, defensiveness, and a general restricted feeling. Often it comes on slowly and is something I can find my way out of by doing some yoga, lifting weights, talking to a friend or spending some time in nature. There are times that the anxiety keeps building though, and when I started running I learned how to cope with it in a different way.

 

I usually run about once a week now to supplement my strength training, yoga and dancing. What I learned is that as I run I naturally find my breath and slow it, I keep my inhales and exhales long and steady. My heart rate is elevated but my mind is calm. Now when I feel that anxious feeling creeping in, my heart rate starts to increase and my breathing becomes shallow I've learned how to lengthen my inhales and exhales to ride out the wave. Instead of becoming consumed by the fact that I'm experiencing anxiety and trying to get myself out of it I just sit with it and breath. I won't say that my anxiety is gone but I will say I don't mind it so much anymore. I think I found a way to love that part of me and let it be.

Stress and Rest

Hello and welcome to the blog section of my site! In this blog you will find ideas that have come from conversations between my clients and me, discussions with other fitness professionals, yoga instructors, and artists of all kind. This is not strictly to tell you how to perform an exercise with correct form - though you may learn that too - but to open conversations on how we can live our lives in a healthy and fulfilling manner.

I have been a personal trainer for over 2 years now. I got into training because I am a dancer. I’ve danced ballet since I was 8 years old and studied many styles of dance including ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, african etc. since that time. Dance is still a big part of my life and is my emotional outlet but the lessons I learned from growing up in dance studios are truly what made me who I am today. My hope is that this blog can shed light on some insights I have discovered through intensive dance training, working one on one with clients in gyms and most recently, teaching yoga. I am only at the beginning of a much longer adventure but I feel like I’ve acted like a sponge for years soaking up any and all knowledge I can find about our bodies, minds and spirits that I would feel greedy not sharing some of the amazing experiences and discoveries I have had.

A topic that has come up recently is the concept of balancing stress and rest. In the body when stress is applied to the muscles and bones they grow stronger but if too much stress is placed on the body, the muscles will strain or in the worst case the bones will break. It is important to know your body’s limits, to push it to the point of growth and not to the point of breaking. It is a fine line that we walk and it is one of the most important lessons I learned from my body for all areas of my life. In today’s world it is easy to become consumed by work and forget to leave time for rest. Rest means not thinking about work, relaxing, doing something completely different for a while. When rest time is allowed in a training session, then the body can recover and has new strength to complete the next set. If rest time is not allowed before using that same muscle again its energy stores will be depleted and the body will be unable to lift as much weight as if could with a period of rest. Applying this lesson to our lives is so valuable because allowing time for our brain to think about something else gives us the ability to come back to our work with new strength and focus.