Contentment is a state which many of us seek and often have difficulty finding. When we do achieve it, it is often fleeting and leaves us all too soon. Contentment consists of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. These four aspects can be consciously cultivated by following simple Ayurvedic and Yogic guidelines. The following practices will increase all of these aspects of contentment.
Upon waking, before opening your eyes, mentally affirm your desire to enjoy and appreciate each moment of your day. Starting the day with a positive intent is a very powerful way to attract the conscious state you desire.
Morning Ayurvedic Massage
Before bathing, massage your temples and feet with warm Brahmi oil (putting the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes will warm it up). You may also rub the oil into the rest of your body. Brahmi oil calms and clears the mind and enhances your mediation practice.
Then take your daily shower. This practice of Ayurvedic oil massage or abhyanga has powerful effects. The Sanskrit word sneha can be translated as both "oil" and "love." The effects of Ayurvedic oil massage are similar to those received when you are saturated with love.
Like the experience of being loved, oil massage can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth.
Conscious Breathing for Contentment and Balance (Pranayama)
1. Find a quiet place and sit comfortably cross-legged while lengthening your spine or in a chair with your spine straight and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril (inhaling into your belly).
3. After you have inhaled hold your breath for just a moment.
4. Exhale through your right nostril while closing the left with the ring and little finger of your right hand.
5. Repeat steps 1-3, this time start by inhaling through the right nostril while you close the left nostril with your ring and little finger.
If you do this breathing exercise for five minutes, you will tune in to your natural state of contentment.
In Alternate Nostril Pranayama the male and female aspects of our being become balanced. When we inhale through our left nostril we charge the right brain. When we inhale through our right nostril we charge the left brain. When these two energies are balanced we access the neutral aspect of ourselves which is capable of connecting us to our Spirit.
1. Still sitting comfortably on the floor or on the edge of a chair with your spine straight, tuck your chin down towards your chest so your neck will lengthen.
2. Bring your hands together at your sternum. Close your eyes and internally focus at your third eye in the middle of your forehead.
3. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale chant Om.
4. Inhale again, chant Om and continue for three chants or up to 3 minutes.
While you are chanting your mind may produce many thoughts. Watch your thoughts come and go. Like a surfer riding his surfboard, we can ride the wave of the Om sound.
Yoga scriptures and other major religions believe both we and the earth we live on were created from sound. By chanting mantras consciously we can re-create ourselves or align ourselves with the higher aspects of the universe. In yogic cosmology the earth was created when Om was chanted. So chanting Om takes us home. When we align ourselves with our soul and spirit we become filled with contentment and bliss.
The Brahmi oil massage, Alternate Nostril Breathing and Om chanting will create a powerful reserve that you can access throughout the day. -->