Last weekend was my third Yoga Teacher Training session. I always look forward to my weekends in Yoga teacher training. I actually can’t wait to get there. Last weekend did not disappoint me.
The physical part of our yoga included standing poses, forward bends and restorative poses. There’s always a lesson about anatomy. We are lucky in this class because in addition to our great teacher, Diane Valentine, we have a physician, a registered nurse and a physical therapist, Needless to say, we get great information on the body.
Yoga is so much more than the physical asana’s. When we talk about yoga in our culture it’s all about the poses. Or, if you attend classes, what kind of class you attend. But learning about the Yoga Sutras is where it all begins. The highlight of last week’s training was the Sutras. I loved the style of teaching that Diane uses.
The first part of the teaching was about Yamas (Don’ts) and the Niyamas (Do’s).
- Ahimsa (non-harming)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing)
- Brahmacharya (Ethical conduct)
- Aparigraha (non-greed)
- Shaucha (Purity)
- Santosha (Contentment)
- Tapas (Heat)
- Svadhyaya (Study of Self)
- Ishvara-Pranidhana (Devoted offering, surrender to God)
Diane had the students sit in out circle and discuss examples and how we see the Yamas in out lives. It was like a group therapy session. For example when it comes to Ahimsa, how our words can cause harm and how we can harm ourselves with negative thinking.
Then there’s Asteya, which is more than stealing candy from a store. A person can rob another of their ideas or even stealing a person’s energy.
The most interesting to me is Aparigraha which is non-greed or non-clinging. How much do we really need? I mean really, how many pairs of shoes do I really need? But it’s also things like being greedy in a conversation. Always butting in or maybe hogging a conversation. Wow, I think I do that every day!
When we got to the Niyamas, I found this a little more difficult. It seems easier for me to look at what I shouldn’t be doing (and feeling guilty about them) than what I should be doing. So I’m going with Diane Valentine’s favorite on this one.
Santosha or finding contentment in what you do. Finding peace and tranquility and acceptance of the way things are. To me, this falls in line with gratitude. When you are doing a pose in yoga, find your contentment. Maybe breathing gives you Santosha. Maybe just being grateful that you can do a pose gives you Santosha.
My writing homework assignment (due at the beginning of my next class) is to pick a Sutra that speaks to me and write a paper. Just the act of finding a Sutra will take a while, but I love this kind of research. I’ll let you know which Sutra I go with.
In the meanwhile, can you find Santosha in everything you do?