Santosha

Santosha.  It is usually translated to mean contentment right, and being a Niyama, it is one of those things that we are supposed to have in the beginning, as a part of the foundation of our yoga practice.  According to what I have heard Douglas Brooks say, it is not a part of the second lesson that we are supposed to be learning in yoga, but as Patanjali wrote it, he expected that we already had that. 


Whoops.  I sort of missed that one in Kindergarten.  I mean seriously, Contentment?  We spend a whole lifetime seeking more and more, so that we can get our nest egg all settled away, and then finally at a point in the future, we can be retired = happy = contentment = santosha.  Ok Got it.


Simple enough.  Contentment comes later then.  While I am waiting until that time, I will continue to conquer and plunder as best as I can making as great as an impact that I can upon my chosen profession, and since I am a Yoga Teacher, that means I will be doing my best to make a name for myself, so that I can get more of a footing in the world of traveling Yoga teachers, the gold standard of how to really make the big bucks as a yoga teacher, one of those who can go wherever, whenever, and make oodles of money in the process (oodles as yoga teachers go, I mean come'on we are not rock stars...).


So that means I need to do more Blogs ;-0, more networking, more self promoting, more smiling when I am grumpy, more smiling when I am working my ass off in a rockin deep back bend, more friends who can help me set up teaching gigs, more smiling at those people sitting in the front row, and the middle row, and the side rows, more time working on my sequences, more time focusing on what I am going to be saying in my classes, more, more, more, more, more.  In other words, contentment comes later then.  Simple enough.


So for now what I am going to do, is to focus on growing myself, growing my name, growing my practice, those photo opportunities are super important afterall, and if my leg is not straight when I am doing trikonasana, I mean for real.  Can you imagine how much that would not look as though I am the superstar teacher that I am trying to show myself to be.  That would be quite counter productive for the more that I am trying to accomplish.


Also, I was think about incorporating my name.  Should I be Benjamin Finnerty Inc., or should I go with my yoga school name, because that is certainly going to help me more to have the appearance of being professional.  I am certain that you all know the image of professional yoga teaching is, well the image of professional yoga teaching, and as much as we love the yoga teacher with dreadlocks, who definitely follows the more traditional path of yoga, (if you don't believe me, ask him what Utkatasana is really about, or about what Mula Bandha is really a practice for), who worships shiva in his herbal flower form, who is mystical, and yogic, and vegan, that isn't professional.  Or is it??


Seriously this whole thing is taking me off balance.  How am I going to do this, and still enjoy my life.  Or wait, I cannot enjoy my life if I do not do this, because if I really just focus on being a better teacher, is that going to be enough?  If I don't focus more on smiling, if I don't focus more on networking, and self promoting, and if I don't focus on well on more, are there going to be any yoga students left for me?  The cost of living is going up, and my per class has not since 2007, and in fact it has actually gone the other direction for most of my teaching opportunities... but the gold standard, that is what I need to be shooting for anyway.  Can you see me now?  Sitting on stage, wearing all white (almost), throngs of devotees leaning on my every word, waiting for the next enlightening thing that I am here to give them, the next practice, the next level of, oh wait that is not me, that is Sri Sri Maha Maharaja guru.  Ok, ok, ok.


Ok, wait, breathe.  Om Srim Maha Lakshmiya Namaha.  It is taught that Lakshmi or the principle of Sri, teaches that there is an abundance in the universe.  This abundance is always present, and it is always offering itself to me in this stream of existence that I call my life.  I wonder if it is possible that I actually take a moment and begin to focus more on myself, what would happen.  If I spent a little more time by myself keeping to myself, my little self, and my universal self, and aligning them up, and asking Lakshmi with the deepest sincerity to join me, to show me that part of myself that is Sri or even Purna for that matter, would this make a difference? and more important would this make a difference where it matters?  Would this communing with myself and the beautiful, very well adorned Lakshmi on her Lotus flower, be able to help to make a shift in the foundation of my being?  Would we be able to shift together in such a way that blogs will be a normal part of my contentedness?


This shift is something that would help me to look at others with more compassion, because I would not be so self-absorbed, and so lost in my search for more, that I would have a moment to look at the beauty in others.  This shift would give me an opportunity to enjoy more of the amazing gift of living that I have been offered, this yoga teaching in cities around China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia.  The opportunities I have been given to be on the road now for instance, typing on my Logitech keyboard with my iPad, waiting for my airplane to one of the oldest cities in the world Xi'an China to teach at a yoga conference in Chinese for that matter.  I mean really, me, teaching yoga to Chinese folks in their mother tongue, and them understanding.  If there is abundance in the universe, I would say that a boy from Gaylord Michigan (yes you read that right, Gay Lord as in Happy God, I think someone got in good with Lakshmi when they were making the name for my home town), teaching yoga in Chinese to people that understand, that proves it.


Ok so if the abundance is there, and if I am participating, and co-creating that abundance with this divine universal experience, then I think that contentment is really possible, and, if Santosha is possible, I think I may just be qualified for this yoga practice after all.  And if I am qualified for this yoga practice, maybe with a little faith, and with a little co-creation, with a little opening to the river of grace that has embraced me, and fed me, and clothed me, and nurtured me from the day of conception, maybe, just maybe that is all I really need.