This week started my Wanderlust workshop. A chance to get personal with the wider, older teachings of yoga. This first week we introduced the 8-fold path of yoga, and in particular the YAMAS and the NIYAMAS. The ethical precepts. How to live with respect and contribution to the outer world, how to cultivate your inner world.
After explaining each one, we each chose the one most needed, most relevant to what we would shift in our lives. The people in that room are the best teachers I have. Honest and true and willing to share their insights and practice.
Here’s the trick of it… SANTOSA is the niyama often translated as contentment. A needed aspiration for most of us. But what I’ve learned from years with the Yoga Sutras in my life is that wanting to foster one niyama in our lives - contentment, for example - usually means there is work and practice to be done in another. In this case I can feel that APARIGRAHA is the one for me to practice to truly experience contentment.
Here’s how it goes.
APARIGRAHA is translated as nonhoarding. The reminder that we don’t need to keep things to ourselves. That holding on with greed and fear doesn’t serve us, and more importantly doesn’t serve the community overall. It is the kindergarten instruction of “share with others.” Don’t block the flow.
There are three primary fears: the fear of less, the fear of loss, the fear of never. We hoard and hold and keep in a false attempt to beat back those fears.
The lesson and the blessing of aparigraha is that of current / conduit / vessel / flow.
We are here to be moved and to be moved through.
If I release (not crowding my schedule, too any books, too many trainings),
if I let go (the marriage, the idea of being a best mom),
if I stop pulling in and holding on because of a fear of shortage or deficiency,
if I stop grabbing or being greedy because there isn’t enough for everyone,
I can feel how complete I already am. I can feel that the next training isn’t going to fill me more. I can feel that keeping and not using my perfume isn’t going to make it last longer. Everything decays and leaves. I will waste it. I will miss out.
I am complete.
At a cellular, molecular, structural level.
I am enough.
There is enough.
Letting go. Not grabbing. Not keeping. Not holding. Instead, engaging. Sharing. Listening without acting. A vessel. A current.
This is the path to SANTOSA. To contentment.
My strength is in my choices.
So I keep listening to what motivates my choices. Keep making choices of flow and current.
Keep learning to feel it in my body. deeply. Where is this false hunger, this dissatisfaction? What is its texture? Where is its tension?
I take the time to feel my inner landscape and how the fear of less, loss, and never reside in me.
30 min of stillness and attention this morning. I was guided and it was slow going. But I can feel it. I can know myself. I can feel what lies beneath.
How complete I am.
I am enough.
There is enough.
I am content.
(and I am hungry, and curious, and able. But these are other things for another time. Always a little more. Always enough.)
You are oh-so-invited to come and join us on Saturday afternoons from noon-3pm at Federal Hill for more of the Wanderlust workshop. Register here for week 2.
Or you can get your own copy of Wanderlust by Jeff Krasno and dive in on your own.
Or just start from here, from these words and choose a yama or niyama of your own and for 30 days make an effort to listen to what it has to share. Listen to all it offers. Be willing to let it in. To be what you long for.
So much love xx Martha