My dear Yogis and Yoginis,
The second of the Niyamas is called Santosha
“Be content with our dharma and karma.
A rich person as well as a beggar (and everyone in between) can find contentment by living in the moment. Avoid getting stuck in the
future desires or past memories and you will invite the Big Self to
direct and guide you trough life.”
~ Alan Finger
(How to expand the little self to merge into the big self)
~ ~ ~
“Santosha means contentment. While the translation is a simple one to grasp, the practice of santosha is a challenge for many in today’s world. In the yoga context, contentment refers to detaching from our desires and cultivating an inner peace and joy that is not dependent on what is happening in our lives.
In Patanjali’s yoga sutras, attachment is often referred to as the basis of our unhappiness and discontent in life. It seems we are all on a search for happiness yet in our yoga study, we are reminded that happiness is not a ‘thing’ to attain. We can’t buy happiness or find it through the next job or a better relationship. Happiness is about finding
contentment in the now. That is santosha. It’s letting go of striving for what you don’t have and accepting with joy what you do.
Santosha is a peace inside that doesn’t change regardless of what is happening externally.
Mindfulness – the practice of conscious attention on the present
without judgment – is the key to santosha. When we are not
projecting into the future about what we want to happen, what we want to do or have; and when we are not dwelling in the past on what we should have done differently, we find contentment with what is right now.”
3 tips to practicing santosha in daily life:
– Get mindful
– Get grateful
~ Byron Yoga
“When your teacher starts yoga class by asking you to bring awareness to your breathing without trying to change it, have you noticed how easy it is in that moment to let go of your expectations and just enjoy being in your body? That is Santosha.
In yoga sutra I.33, Patanjali describes this approach as keeping the mind “at peace”.
Here is a Sanskrit translation by Dr. Kausthub Desikachar:
If we can be happy for those who are happier than ourselves, offer compassion towards those who are not as happy as we are, show appreciation towards those whose actions are praiseworthy, and hold an attitude of equanimity
towards those who sin, our minds will remain at peace.
~ Brett Larkin
“It’s hard to see the goodness in yourself and others, let alone feel even fleeting moments of contentment, when you’re expending a lot of mental energy knocking yourself down. Perhaps it’s time to change your story. Humans are natural storytellers. …
Themes like “I am smart,” “I am pretty,” “I am unlovable,” and “I fail at relationships” are often the central plots to our story lines. What’s more, we often make choices that reinforce these beliefs,
selecting relationships, careers, and situations that confirm our
expectations and strengthen our stories.
You may not realize it, but these stories are the lenses through which we interpret the world. If your lens is green, everything looks green. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Likewise, if your story is negative, positivity is hard to come by.
No wonder santosha can seem like a pipe dream.
Is your default “This is hard, I can’t do this,” or is it “This is difficult, let’s see how I do with it today?”
Yoga practices like asana (postures) and dhyana (meditation) are
excellent places to examine your stories and observe how they affect your mood and attitude. Next time you’re on your meditation cushion or yoga mat (especially in the midst of a difficult pose!), take a moment to listen to your story. Is your default “This is hard, I can’t do this,” or is it “This is difficult, let’s see how I do with it today?” The way that you approach your practice is often a reflection of how you approach your life.
…With time and practice, you will distinguish between the stories you tell and the reality in front of you. Then you can begin to create
distance between your story and who you truly are.
…Once you shed your distorted lenses and self-doubting beliefs, there’s a good chance you’ll discover that you’re pretty awesome. And that the light burning within you is a far more accurate reflection of who you are than the stories you’ve been telling yourself. That is when santosha becomes possible.”
~ B Grace Bullock
Aware & Mindful
Breathe & Flow into Meditation
You are all truly amazing beings, I hope you feel that way about
yourself as well!