Welcome to the final day of January, 2018! As I look outside on this snow covered day, my topic this week of ‘finding contentment’ seems more than appropriate 🙂 If I can be content on a blustery snowy windy day, then I think I may be on the right path!
Lately in my yoga classes, my teachings have been focussed on the yamas. Without getting into all of the intricate details of what the yamas are (this could take blogs and blogs…), the coles notes version coming up next!
On the eight limbed path of yoga, the first limb (as discussed by Patanjali) is made up of the yamas. There are five yamas in total, and the one I will focus on today is the third Yama which is called Asteya, which literally translates into non-stealing. There are many ways to interpret non-stealing, and one of these ways is to define it as finding contentment.
Perhaps you can relate to the flip side of finding Asteya, where we feel less then content for whatever reason. That feeling of “I’m not good enough” or perhaps just being unable to find complete contentment in a particular situation, or at all. I’m sure we can all relate to feeling this way at one time or another in our lives, and it certainly isn’t a good feeling to have.
When we relate Asteya to yoga, we try and find contentment in our asana or poses. They may not be perfect or we may feel like they should be better, but when we try and find Asteya we aim to accept the poses for what they are.
Personally I see this practice of Asteya extremely handy for not only our yoga practice but as a tool to use in everyday life. When we find ourselves in a situation where we are not content or feel that we are not good enough at something, we can attempt to change our mindset through Asteya. We remind ourselves that we are exactly where we should be, and that finding contentment in that place rather than pushing ourselves past healthy limits is one of the keys to attaining happiness.
When we are on our yoga mats, we have the time and space to allow the mind to re-focus. We can practice Asteya and take our energy towards contentment in each of the poses. We can also apply these same principles to our regular everyday lives, knowing that we are where we should be, and not allowing ourselves to constantly focus on where we think we should be. It is never a bad thing to aim at bettering ourselves, but when we lack contentment in our lives improving becomes impossible. The next time you find yourself mired in negative speak (“I am dissatisfied with my weight, appearance, job…” “if only I ….”)turn the thoughts around literally! There is a wonderful saying that we often close a yoga class with, and I think it is the perfect note on which to end my blog on – the words are simple and true:
“May I accept myself just as I am”