Impermanence: Yoga, Santosha, & a Great Hair Day

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Have you ever felt two opposing emotions simultaneously? Confusing stuff…

Today I drove into Santa Monica to get my hair “highlighted” at my favorite hair salon. A friend texted me and asked me why I “needed”, yes he used the word “need”, this. I explained to him that it was not something that I needed to do, but something that I was choosing to do.

I left the salon feeling pretty good about my new coif.

Later, I received some disappointing news. When I hung up with my colleague, I happen to get a glimpse of my new hair and instantly felt better — not about the disappointing situation, but remembering that I had something to be happy about.

Interesting insight, I thought. How could being happy about my hair offset my disappointment about something else?

It’s not easy holding two opposing feelings at the same time. Mostly, it creates conflict and confusion. In pondering this, I thought about my time in India, where by the way, those people have great hair!

An impression I had during my time there was observing both despair and contentment simultaneously.

My own yoga practice has taught me that the the principle santosha (contentment), is having an undying faith in impermanence and a realization that things ebb and flow. This level of awareness alone fosters a deeper knowing that faith in change itself, brings consciousness and clarity to how we perceive all things.

Tomorrow I may wake up and be unhappy with my new “do”. But holding to concepts of black and white, happiness and sorrow, and fear and love prompts me to be aware of the utter impermanence of life.

And as my yoga teacher once told me, perhaps the greatest measurement of our life is how content we are.


All photos taken by Leeann Carey