Yoga Philosophy

Santosha – Contentment

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.

10 thoughts on “Santosha – Contentment”

  1. great post Lisa. I actually did keep a gratitude journal for a month. It was amazing how I was grateful for little things and that for the most part the “things” I was grateful for were not things (as in material things) at all, but people, attitudes, time, my health (and YOGA!) and a country that I can be free to say and do as I please without the fear of oppression or being shot down. Taking the time for this reflection is important and you’ve reminded me that perhaps being grateful is not something I should just do for 30days as an experiment but continue to do. thanks! stacey

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  2. Lisa this was so well written – like a beautiful little shavasana on my walk to work. You’ve put into words exactly what I’ve been working on, especially in the last few months, but really it’s been my main priority for the last two years living here.
    I’m happy to hear that meditation is doing so much good (I actually wrote food first – Freudian slip!) for you too. It’s not easy to create the habit, but once you do the benefits are so wonderful.
    Thanks for this post!

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  3. Thank You Lisa!!! Absolutely wonderful! I love what you said at the Level 2 training earlier this month… “when in doubt, go to gratitude” I mentioned this to my 8 year old son as he was getting upset over something and before I knew it he was saying this to me! And we continue to do this…Its magical how the little things we can get caught up in that upset us can simply go away when we think of the things we are truly grateful for… and like you mentioned above it’s not that we cannot be angry or cry over something its more about how much we are willing to hold onto these things or have our cry or whatever and get over it…
    Thanks again!
    Have a beautiful day!
    xoxo

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