What Yoga Teacher Training has taught me about Contentment

The past six weeks I have been fully immersed in pursuing my 200 Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certification. It has been an incredible journey, and with two weeks left, I wanted to share some of the key concepts I have learned.

Besides the physical aspect, YTT has been more of an emotional and spiritual one than I anticipated. The emotional and spiritual connection I have found over the past few weeks has been profound, eye-opening, and really has been a source of internal reflection, clarity, and growth. The most incredible part of YTT has been the idea of “practice”. In this sense, practice doesn’t make perfect, instead, practice is an avenue for growth. Growth physically, mentally, and emotionally. The statement that each day you come to your mat you have a choice, to be fully present and available — to bring expansion and growth, or to know that the time on your mat is time where you can reflect, digest, and deepen.

Contentment is the second of the Niyamas, the yogi practitioners internal ethical guide. Its defined as “Santosa” in the sense of contentment as it relates to your current circumstances. And instead of being an avenue for complacency, its an avenue for opportunity. In reality, this contentment is the ability to realize that pure growth doesn’t happen in 24 hours, but those 24 hours add up, and contentment, over time, turns into growth. I love this idea. I’ll admit that I am my worst critic. I am full of expectations, expectations of my self, of others, and of how things should be. These expectations lead to disappointment, in myself, in others, and how things are. I’ve realized that the only way to continue to be less anticipatory, or expect less, is to be more clear, more content, and more open. To realize that by trusting the current situation, I am learning. I am growing. I am finding equilibrium, and personal liberty (some of my core desired values). By not defining a date or a deadline, I am more receptive to the growth and contentment that is happening — because its been an opportunity to grow.

The Niyamas also provide another defining moment in your path — Ishvarapranidhana — that by having ultimate trust in the universe, in yourself, that life unfolds exactly as it should. That each experience, each breath, each moment is an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to remain true and authentic to you.

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