Good morning! The word of the day is Santosha~contentment.
It’s been a while since the last Saturday Morning Sanskrit post…but I love learning the meaning behind these ancient words so I’m picking it back up where I left off. Before Baby Max came along I was studying Patanjali’s eightfold path.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here. The Yamas in the first limb address social behaviors. The Niyamas in the second limb focus on our thoughts and attitudes. There are five niyamas, or personal guidelines, to help us with our thoughts. The second is Santosha, which means contentment.
The dictionary defines contentment as a state of happiness and satisfaction.
Basically Patanjali tells us to be satisfied with what we have. It’s such a simple thought, yet at times it seems impossible. Our consumer-driven culture doesn’t help matters. But according to the ancient texts we really can be content with what we have, it just takes practice.
Contentment arrives when we make the choice to be happy with what we have. It’s not easy going against old habits. Especially old Nordstrom Rack habits when planning a Mexican-themed afternoon fiesta. But I’ve committed to the idea of Santosha~contentment with what I have, so I’m pulling out the summer tote to dig through the pile of dresses I already own to find just the perfect outfit. I’m also reading an amazing book about voluntary simplicity, which I will share more about later this week.
How do you practice contentment with what you have?
Filed under Happiness, Yoga
Is there anything better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold snowy day? There was a fluffy white covering outside on Monday. Baby Max and I stayed in our jammies all day and I managed to make this delicious curried carrot soup with ginger and coconut milk. The side dish in the background is crunchy slaw salad from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. We kept busy playing catch, building with legos and tossing around in the snow.
What’s your perfect snow day?
Happy first day of Lent! It was three years ago that I decided to dip my foot in the pool of vegetarianism for 40 days. While I did go back to eating seafood, my life was still changed in a significant way. This morning I came across Ann Marie’s 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge. What a perfect way to shed excess baggage and lighten up. Click the link for details, planning and printables. I plan to post pics on Instagram and update here once a week. I would love to have you join me!
A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon hooked on A Cup of Jo’s Motherhood Around the World series. Joanna featured guest posts from American moms living abroad in various places such as India, Norway and Japan. I loved all of the insight, but the one post that has really stuck with me was written by Jill and Sarah in Congo. These two mamas have their own blog Mama Congo. Their post about a visit to a maternity clinic gives a little glimpse about what life is like in Africa. Needless to say, it’s not easy. My day-to-day dilemmas are small potatoes, but sometimes I find myself swept up in the trivial stuff that just doesn’t matter. Reading something like this reminds me that there are so many people suffering from serious problems like lack of food, water and medical supplies. M and I have decided to dedicate Baby Max’s first birthday to charity. We’re making a small donation to Every Mother Counts and we’ve slipped a short note in with our party invites (that’s not to say we aren’t still planning a festive shindig).
Dear Friends and Family,
We would like to express that your presence is present enough. If you feel inclined to give something, please consider a small donation to a worthwhile cause. We support Every Mother Counts, an organization dedicated to improving maternal and infant health in Africa. Thank you!
Angela, M & Max
Friends in boat pose
This year I vowed to give back more. I started small during my recent trip to Costa Rica. A few weeks before we left I contacted Friends of Nosara to ask if I could visit the local elementary school. In Costa Rica January is considered summer and the schools close for the month. That leaves kids with nothing to do for the day, so the Surfing Nosara Foundation sponsors a summer camp with free lunch and activities for the kiddos. The English speaking coordinator Sarah was thrilled to have us visit. We volunteered to bring a blender and fruit to make smoothies and I planned to teach a yoga class. I practiced my Spanish beforehand and looked up a few key words and phrases. I also brought along these colorful cards. On the day of our visit we stopped at a roadside stand to pick up fresh bananas and pineapples. The students loved doing yoga, despite my broken Spanish. They adored Max. We had so much fun being part of the local community for the day.
Savasana works in any language
A helper adding pineapple chunks to the mix
Every student got the chance to assist
M and have traveled extensively, but only recently did I think to reach out to a local school for a day visit. A few years ago I spent a month volunteering in Peru and I guess I thought that giving had to be some grand gesture. That’s nice when you have the resources, but even one afternoon can brighten someone’s day or $20 can make a difference.
I would love to hear about your volunteer experiences!
I have a love affair with books. But lately I’ve started to feel overwhelmed by stuff so I’ve decided to get rid of the ones I haven’t read in a few years. My tastes have changed and if I really need to read them again I can check them out at the library. I tried a yard sale last summer, but our house is pretty remote so we didn’t have too many shoppers. After six months of hoarding them in a box in the garage, plus an unsuccessful Craig’s List attempt, I’ve decided to try the online route. I used this link to enter ISBN numbers. I was surprised to find that out of 40-ish books, four were accepted from Powell’s for a grand total of $7.75, which will be deposited in my Paypal account. Powell’s pays shipping via an emailed label. The rest will be donated. It’s a little painful giving away practically new books that I paid retail for, but hopefully I can find a good cause. And remember this lesson when I want to purchase a new book in the future…
I went to hot power yoga this morning and liked it. I’m not usually a fan of hot yoga because the heat can be pretty intense. But at 8:30 this morning M offered to watch Baby Max and the class at my usual studio started at 9. We live in the woods, so there was no way I could make it. I’d heard about Grace & Glory through a friend so I decided to give it a go. The room was packed and it was hot. 90 degrees to be exact. But it wasn’t stifling and in the chilliness of winter it actually felt pretty good.
What really made me like the class was the teacher. For me, yoga is more than just a workout. Sure that’s what got me interested in it years ago. A workout that you don’t really have to work at? Count me in. My thoughts have changed since then as I sit here drenched in sweat next to my sleeping baby, afraid to move. The reason I really liked Nicole’s class was because she sprinkled in plenty of yoga philosophy throughout the poses. Like, “My practice is my prayer.” Yoga is movement to get rid of all the crap that is stuck inside of us, both mental and physical. Jivamukti teacher Sharon Gannon wrote about intention this month. If you do yoga with the intention of losing weight, you will probably become thinner. However, why not elevate your intentions for yourself and your life? As Sharon points out, yoga without the philosophy is gymnastics. And sure it will make your body feel good for a little while, but why not awaken something higher in ourselves? And that’s why I really loved today’s hot power yoga class. Yes, I was there for a workout and to feel better physically. But I was also there to let go of negative thoughts and aspire towards inner tranquility. And sometimes that takes a good dose of sweat.