Santosha in Life
I love the Sanskrit word Santosha which means contentment. To me, this one word encapsulates the enormity of the practice. I have been practising yoga for over 20 years now and recently completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Dublin’s Yoga Room.
To celebrate International Day of Yoga 2019, the following is an extract from my training application about what yoga really means to me. I hope this resonates and that some of you may be living your lives from the same page:
The word yoga has been interpreted in many different ways but it is broadly accepted as meaning ‘union,’ as in the union of our physical, mental and spiritual selves primarily through the breath. But for me the word means so much more: There’s something deeply powerful and grounding about yoga that I haven’t found with anything else and I know with regular practice my body thrives, both physically and emotionally.
Patanjali’s 8 Limbs
While asanas are just one of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, each of the hundreds of asanas tells a rich story. Take Vrkasana (or tree pose) for instance (as in the lead photo), when performed correctly this pose grounds the body deeply into Mother Earth keeping us safe and anchored. The older I grow the more its rich philosophy resonates and with regular practice I sleep sounder too and heaps of research backs this up. Regular practice has also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
Through the years I have very slowly progressed from the dynamic movements of Ashtanga, to a blend of vinyasa and more recently Kundalini that moves me on a more energetic level. Guided by the right teacher - not necessarily the one with thousands of likes on their Instagram or Facebook accounts (some of the best teachers don't even use social media) – a connection is made and you know you are in safe hands. And as you delve deeper into Yogic/Ayurveda philosophy and psychology, layers or sheaths are unearthed that create a pathway on the journey towards health, fulfilment and serenity.
Yoga is mainstream now as science is proving (as timeless wisdom has long shown) that it holds the key to keeping us grounded and real in our crazy switched-on world. It’s the powerful combination of dynamic movement, breath work and mantra that cuts through the craziness and the real genius of yoga is that you do the practice and suddenly the practice starts to do you – bringing you to yourself and making you what you are in your life.