Contentment is the second of the personal observances on the path of yoga. It’s both a practice (a verb) and a state of being (a noun). A new yogi starts by practicing contentment and in the process of practicing is transformed into a contented person.
How successful you are at cultivating contentment depends on how successful you are at practicing non-attachment/aparigraha (see my previous posts on the yamas).
It all boils down to making friends with impermanence. As a human being, you are guaranteed a life with a mixed bag of experiences. Some of them, you will like; others...not so much. Your life will include people, jobs, relationships, money, births, deaths, loves, heartbreaks, etc. Everyone and everything in your life has a time to enter and a time to leave. That is the nature of things. The great news is that if you don’t like what’s happening in your life at this particular moment, another moment will be along shortly, and it will bring something different.
This realization, coupled with the ability to let go when it is time, is what gives rise to a state of contentment. It can outlast any temporary change of fortune. If you just give it time, the tides of fortune will turn. They always do - because that is the nature of things. Life guarantees you waves. The trick is learning to surf them skillfully.
This is where your practice comes in.
INTENTION: ‘I have everything I need in this moment. I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.’
SUPPORTIVE BREATH: Breath observation. Notice your breath coming and going without trying to change/deepen/improve on it. You have enough breath to do this moment.
ON THE MAT: Lie in Savasana. Repeat the intention (above). There is nothing you can add to yourself to make you more complete. Rest in that knowledge.
Choose a pose that is rich in sensation for you. Do it. Notice the fluctuations in the intensity of sensation while you’re there. Notice how you feel a few moments later when you come out of the pose.
OFF THE MAT: Check in with your mental/physical/emotional state throughout the day. Note changes. Repeat your intention.