YogaFit’s theme for July is Joyful, and what a better way to kick this off (and give myself a kick to get writing again!!) than by re-visiting an old post on Santosha: Contentment. Joy for all the blessings that surround us, happy for the sake of being happy! enjoy xo
When I think of Santosha, the second practice of the Niyamas, or personal code of ethics, I think of being at peace. Of finding acceptance and gratitude, of letting go what we can’t control and making changes to those we can. More often than not the only thing we can control is our own perception or thoughts behind what is happening: the actions of others or situations we find ourselves in. When I first learned about the Yamas and Niyamas, it was Santosha that I had the most difficulty with and now I tend to find it the easiest. It’s amazing how our own perception, our own thoughts both send us off the deep end towards a downward spiral and yet have the absolute same power to bring us back from the cusp to a celebration of life itself. Patanjali says, in the Yoga Sutras, that yoga is the science of the mind. While it is extremely difficult to control our monkey minds, through the practice of Santosha we can begin to notice when our thoughts are beginning to spiral and teach ourselves to step out to the place of the witness. To stop and realize what we are getting so upset over and if it is really worth it. One of the best statements I’ve ever heard at a training was that “we all have stuff.” How true is that! And we really do. We all experience heartbreak, illness, death, but it is how we process these events in our life that make the difference. Trust me, we need to process our emotions and feel terrible and sad or mad during these times, my only question is at what point can we decide to move forward, to stop dwelling on these events allowing them to define us, or to live in regret. Creating a gratitude list was and continues to be the cornerstone in my journey for santosha or contentment. The other important element, and one that is new for me is a daily meditation practice. Recommended to me by Anand, from my recent trip to India as an aid to quiet my extreme Pitta dosha (or fiery nature) I have noticed a difference after only a few weeks how much calmer I am through the chaos of my everyday life. By taking just 20 minutes every morning as soon as I wake up, for the rest of the day I feel more present and at peace through every situation. Giving me the opportunity to step back and decide what my reactions will be in certain situations and taking time to observe my thoughts and if they are helping or harming. It is very easy in the western world to get caught up in the media slogans of what we don’t have and what we need to be happy. However I lay odds that you already have everything you need, we just sometimes need a little help to remember. This week take time for reflection, whether through meditation, journaling or talking to a close friend. Notice if it is you who is getting in the way of your own happiness. What changes can you make to bring more peace and contentment into your own life. In love and light, Namaste xo, Lisa.