Stillness. The Path To Santosha
When was the last time you found stillness? And what the heck is Santosha?
Maybe you found stillness at the end of your yoga practice in Savasana. For some of us, Savasana is our favorite part of our yoga practice and for others we dread the thought of keeping still and quite for a few minutes. But why is this? For one, stillness is not something we are taught as a young child. The only time I remember stillness as a child was when I was put in a “time out”, which wasn’t a good thing. So why would I want to practice stillness as an adult? For some adults standing in a line, waiting, is challenging and causes stress and frustration.
When I find stillness, it is a time of peace. I feel light and free, the same feeling I get when I come out of savasana or a restorative yoga pose. Any challenges I may be having fade away and I find gratitude for so many things in my life. I feel love and happiness and a place of pure contentment. This is Santosha, a state of being. I don’t just find stillness in a yoga pose but all around me. I look up into the sky and see an amazing blue and feel fearless. I feel creative and limitless when I look at the tropical plants and flowers throughout my day. I feel abundance when I taste the sweet juice from the local watermelon that I am being nourished with. I feel freedom to make choices when I wiggle my toes in the sand catching the breeze across my skin. In this place of stillness it all fades away and it is here that I can tune into my true desires and needs. With Santosha, every time you get knocked down, you stand up taller, stronger, more flexible…finding clarity.
Are you or your kids today overstimulated with activities and digital devices? Do you feel disconnected not knowing what you need or desire? Do you have digestion problems, nervousness, insomnia, body aches, high or low blood pressure, weight change, feeling unfocused or lazy, unable to slow down or stop, high emotions or hidden emotions? Are you always looking for the better car, the bigger house, the new digital device, the next best thing…..to bring you happiness, but it never comes and if it does it only last for a little while.
Santosha is contentment and the path begins with stillness. Start small, take baby steps. I encourage you to start with one restorative yoga pose or try start to “uni-task” instead of multi task. It could be something simple like driving in the car and just driving. Not listening to the radio, or answering phone calls via blue-tooth, just driving. Maybe your stillness is taking a quite walk on your lunch break with no phone and just feeling your feet touch the ground as you walk. Stopping at the read light and feeling your breath. Teach your children stillness as a “good thing” even if it is for five minutes. Whether we are training to run a 5k or learning to play an instrument; stillness, just like anything else, we must practice. The more we practice the easier it becomes. The mind begins to slow down and we begin to disconnect with the material world. We move into stillness, we begin to connect to our true nature, to a place of unconditional contentment and gratitude no matter what the situation is. We move away from our conditioned patterns, to a place of peace and serenity of being happy. Our nervous system starts to shift into relaxation mode where it can begin to heal all the systems in the body. We become in control of our lives and the way we react to the circumstances in our lives.
Here is one of my favorite restorative yoga poses, it holds our body in a shape similar to a “Lazy Boy Chair”.
Watch The Video:
THE LAZY BOY or Supported Reclined Pose This is a great restorative yoga pose to begin with especially for someone who is new to restorative yoga or has a hard time staying still. This pose is safe if you are pregnant.
Setting up the Pose:
-Take two blocks, set one on medium height and one on tall height and few inches apart, then lay a bolster on an angle across the blocks.
-You will place your sacrum up against the edge of the bolster, be sure your but (sit bones) is on the floor or for extra padding place a thin blanket
-Place another bolster under your knees & roll a blanket up and place under your Achilles tendon.
-Hands will lay on your tummy and a block, pillow, blanket or bolster under each elbow so that the elbows are lower then the hands -Be sure that your chin is lower then your forehead and there is space between your chin and neck.
-You can place a blanket under your head or under the back if you need a little lift.
You can use any props you may have, pillows from the couch, books, whatever you have at the house. You don’t have to go out and buy yoga props unless you want to.
BENEFITS (when practiced regularly): -reduces the tendency to cough -relieves tension between the shoulder blades -beneficial for the kidneys -helps with insomnia ( I ALWAYS SLEEP BETTER AFTER TAKING THIS POSE) -relieves nausea -enhances breathing -quiets the mind Once you are in the pose focus on your breath and begin to let your body relax into the props. I like to set a timer and enjoy the stillness of the body and mind for the next 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t worry, if your mind begins to wonder, start to count your breath pattern and try to still the mind again while your body relaxes.
Join Danielle Gentilcore every Tuesday, 7pm at Bliss Living Yoga, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands for a Restorative Yoga Practice.
Danielle teaches Hatha yoga; a combination of meditation, breath work, mindful movement and alignment in Grand Cayman. She specializes in private yoga sessions which allows her to create a practice that is beneficial to your exact needs. Email her to book your space. Danielle also teaches Intro To Yoga workshops in Grand Cayman, vegan yoga retreats to Little Cayman & Yoga Adventures to Honduras, Guatemala & Panama.