Post #78: Breath-Work Practice to Cultivate Contentment
Do you ever wake up and dread all of the things you need to get done? Do you find yourself in overwhelm from driving yourself to accomplish a certain number of tasks just to feel “worthy” for the day?
As all of us do, I noticed after I had my first child that life became different. Time was no longer my own to do with whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I remember laying my newborn down in her crib ever so gently to not wake her, shutting her door quietly as I held my breath. Then as soon as the door was shut, I went into a mad rush: vacuuming, cleaning up the kitchen, showering, yoga, whatever I could get done before I heard that sweet little cry again signaling the end of my free time.
I realize now, that baby now 13 years old and my youngest 6, I am still at times stuck in that same pattern I learned 13 years ago. Any “time” that is not needed by my children is spent in some mad frenzy trying to get done as much as possible before someone else needs me again. In the process, I can shift from simply enjoying the things that I’m doing into complete and utter overwhelm trying to get as much accomplished as possible before someone needs to stop me. Can you relate?!
What I love about yoga is the component of “self-study” that is completely non-judgmental. It allows me to slow down enough to notice that something is wrong. It allows me to ask myself what is going on here. Why am I not enjoying certain things. This is my life! I want to enjoy EVERY moment, whether I’m taking the garbage out or reading a good book.
In turning the light of self-study on I realize that I have this underlying sense of urgency to finish “the list”. It started 13 years ago and still haunts me. But as you know, “the list” will never be finished. As long as I am living and breathing there will be something to cross off “the list” and something to add back on. In simply recognizing this I already feel a weight lifting. As long as my list is not complete I am still here. I am here to live, to breathe, to enjoy, to guide my children, to encourage others, to love my life: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
And so I now find myself wanting to set an intention: to practice the niyama of yoga called santosha, or contentment. My list will never be done, for that I am certain. But I want to challenge myself to ENJOY my list. I want to challenge myself to feel contentment, as I chip away at the list or as I do other things that are keeping me from my list. Already I feel santosha washing over me. I am reminded that life is short. There is no reason to live in constant overwhelm and drive myself constantly to finish something that will never, ever be finished. It’s absurd really.
So I challenge you as I challenge myself. Let’s set an intention to let contentment live like an undercurrent to our day. It doesn’t mean that we can’t get things done. It just means that we keep a healthy perspective on how these accomplishments or lack there-of are making us feel. It means we remind ourselves to enjoy the things we need to get done AND enjoy the things we do that prevent us from getting things done.
If this sounds too difficult for you, then maybe there are some things that you need to take a closer look at in life. Ask yourself, what is preventing me from feeling contentment? Explore this question with yourself. All of us find ourselves at times in situations in life that we don’t really want to be in. This is a good time to slow down and make decisions for ourselves that will allow us to live the life we truly want to live.
I am including a short cultivation practice for santosha, contentment. So take 9-minutes and start your day with this life-giving practice.
Remember, you are a force for good in the world. The more consistent you get with these practices the more your life will become guided, sacred, and filled with meaning. You cannot help but then extend deep peace, joy, and contentment to your loved ones, friends, and everyone you meet. The world could use more of this, so let’s get you in the best space to make it happen.
Click the video above and get started with this amazing practice.