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Monthly Inspiration: June 2016

Pincha Mayurasana

By Tonia D'Angelo Slade

Sutra 2.42: Santosha Anuttamah Sukha Labhah!
From contentment there flows the most excellent happiness and delight.

Translation and interpretation by Swami Venkatesananda

Yoga Sutra 2.42 describes one of the Niyamas. The Niyamas are the personal observances and are one of the eight limbs of classical yoga passed down from the sage Pantanjali around 400 CE. They are meant to be practiced daily.

This is one of my favorite sutras, because practicing it is like working out a muscle, the more you do it the stronger it gets. I have had plenty of opportunity to flex this muscle as I have navigated this life through its ups and downs. Being grateful has made all the difference.

Gratitude goes hand in hand with contentment. When we find ourselves discontent is it because we have lost touch with all we have to be thankful for right now? In this very next in-breath and next out-breath is already a gift! If we are not grounded in the present—we find ourselves discontent and find ourselves desiring something in the future or pining for what we had in the past. Practicing being fully present whether it be in asana, meditation or washing the dishes etc. will help work that contentment muscle.

Practicing mindfulness and gratitude can help us relieve the wants and worries of life- even if temporarily. This liberation may help us to realize that we are more than this body and mind and we are connected to something divine- fertile ground to grow our gratefulness.

This month’s focus pose is Pincha Mayurasana (also known as Peacock’s tail feather) is an elegant and challenging inversion. It requires a lot of heart opening as you balance on your elbows, forearms and hands. If it invokes some fear to go upside down start in preparatory poses like dolphin where your feet are touching the ground.

Strength, balance, patience and awareness are necessary to approach this pose as well as self study and practice over a period of time. The key to balancing in Pincha Mayurasana is to have a strong foun-dation in the arms, to open your heart by integrating the shoulder blades, find connection to your pelvic core (mula bandha) and hugging shins to the midline of your body, while moving your tailbone toward your heels to keep from feeling unsteady.

A tall order, but once you start to make these connections of body through mind and breath you will begin to feel as light and graceful as a peacock’s tail feather. Remember to be content in your practice—look for the good and appreciate your progress no matter how small it may seem at first.

This practice can add enthusiasm and lightness in your day as you are grateful for your efforts and commitment to the practice. Contentment and happiness are yours if you choose to work at it!


Tonia D'AngeloTonia D’Angelo
practices and teaches yoga as a way to live life more fully and with greater awareness and appreciation. Tonia teaches a vinyasa class that balances flow and movement with precision and alignment. She seeks to support and encourage her students to heighten their potential, health and inner conquest to the self. Tonia constructs thoughtful classes that are vigorous yet maintain balance between effort and ease. Tonia has completed (3) 500+ hour teacher trainings. She has been practicing yoga for more that 20 years, teaching for over 12 years, and has been certified in yoga, reiki, aromatherapy and holistic nutrition. Please visit for more information.

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KamaDeva Yoga, 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl, East Hampton, NY 11937 Tel: 917.301.6919 Monthly Inspiration Archives