Peacocks and Peril

May 15, 2016

Santosha : Contentment

The yoga tradition teaches us that on the other side of any experience we are having is a spaciousness; a vast openness. It is in that space where our innate ease of fulfillment dwells. This is the niyama of santosha.

Santosha, or contentment, is not a place to arrive but rather a state within the very heart of your deepest essence. Touching a place of contentment and sustaining it takes a dedicated practice. With one single breath to pause an entire new perspective may arise.

darrenmayurasana Darren Rhodes in mayurasana

In life we will make sacrifices, face hard choices and experience the awkward mundane lull of day to day existence. There are times when we may face eminent threat. Sadhana, or practice, under those circumstances cultivates will (iccha). With santosha one can unearth the hidden treasure within all experiences, as hard as that work may be.

I even argue that it cultivates a vitality and builds a stronger infrastructure to endure anything life has in store for us. To weather the storms one must align with a source of inspiration. The vast, openness of santosha offers an oasis to refuel and gain new footing. Santosha is choosing a more positive attitude under difficult circumstances.

Santosha is choice that leads to a natural state of fulfillment. It is the spaciousness on the other side of your experience. There is no guarantee that the challenges you are facing will go away. Practicing Patanjali’s limbs of yoga can bring out the most expanded version of yourself. In this instance a positive attitude trumps all.

At the studio:
Our asana practice this past week was work to stabilize the pelvis. Cork work and backbends complimented and informed each other from beginning to end. The alignment mantra became ‘thighs back, butt down, lurch the chest forward’. It sounds so silly now but in class it seemed to be the words that people got it on, ha!

Giving the pelvis some degree of a posterior tilt often provided students with more strength and stability. For example in plank, forearm plank, and lowering in chaturanga the contents of the abdomen protrudes toward the floor leaving the sacrum and lumbar spine hanging out on the ligaments. With moving the buttocks flesh down the backs of the legs and abducting the thighs, the low belly draws up and back and the outer pelvis is supported more.

In chaturanga as well, reaching the chest with tenacity brings an urgency to the lowering to quickly pick up into urdva mukha svanasana. Or applying it all to actually get your body off the floor for peacock pose. The focus of the week’s sequence crystallizes in mayurasana and anjaneasana variations.

Uttanasana -fingers to floor, knees bent
Uttanasana -lock arms around legs, grab back of ankles

1 block on medium height top of mat:
Tadasana- Urdva Hastasana x2
Tada- Urdva Namaskar x2
Tada- Urdva Namaskar, Uttansaana, Ardha Uttanasana x2
Tada- Urdva Namaskar, Uttansaana, Ardha Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana (AMS)—→ shift to Plank
In plank, drop onto knees and do a hamstring curl with both legs, tip your pelvis posterior, drag top of sternum forward.
Bend elbows, lower chaturanga without touching the block. Drag sternum toward the block, keep belly firm and neutral curves to the spine. Push back up. x6


Surya Namaskar A
-—> Add lift and externally rotate arms to lower from AMS to down onto the forearms x6

Plank-Forearm Plank- Plank (left arm, right arm, left hand, right hand…) x3 per side
Ardha Bekasana
Salabhasana (hands clasped behind)- Salabhasana (arms forward)- Bhujangasana

Forearm Plank hold 1 minute
Ardha Bekasana
Salabhasana (hands clasped behind)- Salabhasana (arms forward)- Bhujangasana
Anjaneasana add thigh stretch

Forearm Plank with side steps x8
Anjaneasana add hands clapsed, touch knuckles to floor inside back leg
Repeat Chaturanga with the block at top of mat. Avoid block while adding Bhujangasana.
Virabhadrasana I

Utkatasana (thigh hook with mitten mudra, press thighs back and drag knees above heels) to arms overhead
Parvritta Utkatasana
Garudasana-Nest-Virabhadrasana III-hi lunge


Navasana- Ardha Navasana- Jathara Parivartanasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
-→Mayurasana, work from down on knees and head down, straighten legs, one leg up at a time or straight legs together, posterior pelvic tilt, pick head up and drag/ lurch chest forward

@ Wall:
Pincha Mayurasana
Mayurasana with feet on a block at the wall

Setu Banda Prep (arms all the way over head, inner thighs back, posterior tilt to pelvis) no emphasis on extending thoracic spine
Setu Bandasana
Reverse Table Pose
Urdva Dhanurasana x3

Marichyasana III prep
Baddha Konasana
Agni Stambhasana