Saturday, January 22, 2011

Santosa or Contentment

Our focus in class today was on santosa. As I read the description from Light on Yoga, the sentence that resonated with the class the most was, "There is contentment and tranquility when the flame of the spirit does not waver in the wind of desire." During our practice, we discovered what contentment in class is: asana, presence, breath, etc.

The final pose we did before savasana today was niralamba sarvangasana, unsupported whole body pose. I had each student look at the other students to decide if they needed more or less support for the shoulders. After looking at each others upper bodies, we determined that some needed more support and some less, based on the curvature in the neck. If there was less curve in the neck, more support was required. One student pointed out that it seemed it should be the opposite: if there was a natural healthy curve in the neck, then more support should be used to fill the space so the neck wouldn't flatten. It reminded me how important the explanation for sarvangasana is, and I must make it clear to students that we balance on the shoulders and not the cervical vertebrae. Therefore, students who tend to balance on the cervical vertebrae need more support because they are unable to draw the spine in enough to balance on the shoulders. I continue to learn from my students in every class and am grateful to them for their thoughtful questions.

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