YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 03.25 – 03.31

“I don’t look for bliss, just contentment.” — Alison Krauss

Weekly Focus: Santosha (contentment) / Sutra 2.42 saṃtoṣādanuttamasukhalābhaḥ — From contentment unsurpassed happiness is obtained

Even as we work hard to purify and to let go, it is important to remember that we are OK where we are at, we are enough. We use yoga to become more aligned, to feel more contentment — not because we are not whole already, but because there is always room to grow, and a life long in which to do it. Happiness is fleeting — it comes and it goes. Yoga seeks balance, it is from a general contentment that we find more balance in life. This doesn’t mean we cannot experience happiness, sadness, or otherwise, but what is it that we are seeking overall? Even throughout the process of mindful thought and action, it is important to seek contentment with who we are right now. This healthy relationship with our Self will help us to lay down the foundations of support needed to grow in an intentional way, not because we are not good enough already, but because we desire to reach our most infinite potential. A place where we neither seek nor want, but where we can just exist. 

Passive Pose: Kapotasana — pigeon pose

Whether your hips feel balanced, cranky, happy, or otherwise — can you seek a place of contentment in this fierce hip opener? We tend to judge our hips a lot, so lets try to approach this stretch with more grace. From a tabletop position on hands and knees, slide your right knee forward towards the right wrist, allowing the shin to come anywhere between a 90 degree and 45 degree bend. We may have often heard the cue “make your shin parallel with the top edge of the mat” — this angle is not necessary to find a pigeon pose stretch in your body. Play around with the angle of the shin and see where you might find stretch and sensation that still allows you to breath. If you notice your right seat is lifted way off of the ground in this pose, slide either a block or folded blanket beneath your seat. The magic of a prop here is that you body will have a signal to say “you are supported, it is safe to release,” and you may start to gradually loosen the clench or grip in your glutes, hips and toes. Remember that our props are not making it “easier,” they are supporting the body and allowing the body to trust itself.

Active Pose: Kati Chakrasana  — standing spinal twist pose

Hold space to feel this very simple twist, and be OK with it’s simplicity. With the feet hip to shoulder’s width distance, bring the arms in front of you and twist to the right. Left hand will touch to right shoulder, right hand will wrap the low back. Come through center, and repeat to the other side. This simple twist is a great way to awaken the spine in the morning or give the body some rotation in the middle of the work-day. You can even take this twist in a chair, using your hands on the chair as leverage to help you rotate the torso. Sometimes a simple twist can do wonders to rejuvenate and refresh the body! Take it back and forth a couple of times with slow deep breaths, and see how you feel after.