Contentment: The Yoga of Success with Quiet Earth Yoga.

Eka Pada Raja KapotasanaWhen I began my yoga journey over a decade ago, I was terrified to walk into a studio. I was a shy, awkward kid, and here I was, on a college campus in Los Angeles, where everyone just exuded grace and bright shiny sunlight. I wanted that; Sun Salutations seemed like a good place to start…

Of course, I struggled through my first class, but realized (and this was a revelation) that no one had been staring at me in my running shorts on my borrowed mat. No one even cared. They were so involved in their own journey that I might as well not have been in the room.

It was the biggest relief of my life; I was hooked.

Fast-forward through a bit of the now-typical, Western yoga journey: more classes, better mats, yoga teacher training. But when I began teaching? Suddenly, I was thrust back into that awkward adolescence. Sure, this was yoga, but now everyone was looking at me. Because they had to. I was in charge.

Those first few classes were…awkward (but they always are—which is what I tell my teacher training students). But you get over it. Why? Because your students are absorbed in their own journey. Yours is just the voice guiding them down the path.

And this is the point: the journey is the path; it is your yoga.

I’m an Ashtangi, which means that there’s a lot of discipline in my practice—I practice six days a week, two hours a day. When you spend that much time in your body, you begin to journey beyond it. You have to.

Why? Well, there are some bloody difficult poses in the Ashtanga series; they test your limits—body, mind, and spirit. The ego will elbow in there, get all huffy and frustrated, demanding that you balance in Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) right now. Or, better yet, yesterday.

I didn’t know that voice was ruling my life and my practice until I turned back to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which, when you hit the roadblock of frustration, injury, and ego, will be a lifesaver. For now, let me say this: I realized I was putting more effort into my excuses and my frustrations than I was into my practice.

This is the idea of Santosa, or contentment. Contentment is where you live, because where else on earth could you be?? Believing there is a purpose in this struggle—not random punishment or failure—is empowering. I was given this struggle because I’m strong enough to learn from it. Almost anyone can eventually balance on their head, but can you learn from the struggle? Can you apply those lessons off the mat? Can you see that your choices have led you exactly where you are right now?

Those past, ‘ill-informed’ decisions are the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive, because once you internalize them, you’re done. You’ll never make that mistake again.

You are the architect of your life. Live abundantly. Design wildly.

Supta VirasanaFind more of Quiet Earth Yoga here:
Twitter: @QuietEarthYoga
Facebook: @QuietEarthYoga
Web: www.quietearthyoga.com