Santosha (Contentment) Through Yoga
by Marjorie Vestal
Tuesday afternoon, bright winter sun is shining into my Earthaven home warming the entire cozy space. Strong solar rays are captured and stored as I sit and write. It is quiet today. The wind is still. I feel content as I contemplate the yoga class I will teach this afternoon in our Council Hall.
Teaching yoga at Earthaven is my way of cultivating Santosha, which is the yogic observance of contentment. Santosha is always available—it lives within us. We need only to observe it, give it space and it will grow. Showing up to teach my friends and neighbors yoga never fails to deliver me into a state of deep Santosha.
Today at 4 pm, the Council Hall will be warm for our yoga class with radiant floor heat beneath our mats and the sun streaming in the large windows all around us. Slight distractions are likely to occur in our large common space. They teach us to stay present to the sweet bubble of love we create around us as we move through our Sadhana (practice).
The class ranges from young, strong travelers passing through Earthaven to our dearly loved, long-living elders who have been doing yoga most of their lives. Some come to be challenged, some come to be soothed and relaxed. We practice asanas (postures) for an hour, sink deeply into relaxation and end with an optional silent meditation.
I have taught yoga classes for 20 years in many settings. But teaching in my own community is so much sweeter. Our Earthaven Sangha (community) has blended us over the years. Moving our bodies in unison through the sun salutations, breathing together through the interminably long silences, we melt our resistance and rigidity. We hold one another in the embrace of a higher consciousness. Our minds relax, our hearts open. We come to know and love one another’s subtle energies.
As I walk through our woodland trails and arrive at yoga class, connecting is just a breath away………Santosha.
Marjorie Vestal is a public health professional, beekeeper, blackberry farmer, mother, and recent grandmother. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where she cultivates woodland medicinal herbs and enjoys an ever-deepening connection to the natural world.