The word santosha is Sanskrit for “contentment.”
Since this word more than almost any other word speaks to and encompasses what I’m seeking on this journey and in this life, it seems appropriate that when I decided to drop into a yoga class in my friend’s neighborhood in Phoenix, I ended up at Studio Santosha.
I’d never heard of santosha, or it had never struck me before, but I was reminded two days in a row – yesterday and again this morning – of the wonders that yoga does for my mind, my body, and my spirit.
I love yoga. I’ve loved it since the first time I tried it, probably twelve years ago. At that time, there was something missing in my life – spirituality, a deeper connection to earth and my source – and yoga (along with the Indigo Girls!) helped me to fill that void. From very early on, my practice felt like magic. It was a space for me to unwind after a busy, stressful, socially-demanding workday. It helped me discover headspace, even though I didn’t know the concept by that name at the time. For me, yoga has always been about much more than movement; it’s about the breath-mind-spirit-body connection. And, that concept lends itself well to this journey, which is probably why I felt drawn to practice and didn’t even hesitate to seek out a class.
I’ve always got my mat in the trunk of my car, and I envisioned practicing in beautiful outside spaces during my journey, but I hadn’t done a single downward dog until yesterday. There’s something about the camaraderie and accountability and energy of a yoga class. And, for me, the energy of the instructor has always made a big difference in my practice. But my instructors always seem to bail on me (well, they leave the class and their teaching, not me specifically, though I have sometimes felt somewhat cursed in that regard). My first instructor had a double lung replacement. My second left to become a personal trainer. And I kinda lost interest because this was discouraging. Then I moved to Portland and started my search again. When I finally found someone, she moved to Australia. Then my most recent instructor left to do retreats full time. Whyyyyy!?! Sometimes I think the Universe is trying to tell me something – either to give up my “dependence” on classes and outside instruction or that I should become an instructor myself. Who knows!?
At any rate, my time spent in practice these last two days was nothing short of incredible. I was reminded of how much yoga means to me and wondered for the hundredth time why I don’t stick with it regardless of whether my instructors stick with…me. Today’s instructor was bomb (we’re about to be Facebook friends!), but yesterday’s teacher was meh, and I still felt inspired and grounded and renewed. And content.
Ultimately, shouldn’t I be seeking out and doing more of whatever gets me to that magical state of santosha? The answer is most assuredly YES.