SANTOSHA

Santosha

If you have been practicing with me for a while you have heard me talk about the yamas and niyamas of yoga. These are 10 virtues or ethical guidelines that we can use as tools or practices on our path to a more fulfilling life, a life of less suffering. They are like a guidebook to help us relate to people (yamas) and take care of ourselves (niyamas). One of niyamas is santosha, which translates to contentment. It’s easy to be content when you’re in a peaceful setting (like the one above), or on vacation or, or, or. We can all think of places and times where it seems easier to be content. In these places and times, life just feels less messy. It is easy to feel at ease. Santosha is about trying to cultivate that sense of ease all the time, but especially when you are struggling with work, people, or you are tired, sleep deprived, overwhelmed, underwhelmed...you get my drift. But these are the times when we can benefit from santosha the most. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring how to bring santosha into my daily activities. I realized that the key is simply finding ease in whatever I’m doing. Instead of hoping for things to go perfectly or trying to avoid certain things, I work on developing a feeling of ease in my body and mind. It doesn't solve my problems but it helps me feel more relaxed and less reactive. I sometimes just put my hand on my heart (name my feeling) and remind myself that it will be ok...eventually. (Thank you Tara Brach and Pema Chodron for that one) Our physical yoga practice prepares us for this. Every time we hold a pose that is challenging and focus on breathing evenly and relaxing into the pose, every time we extend our exhales and notice the freedom and ease the exhale brings, and every time we lay in savasana and relax the body, we are training ourselves to bring ease and contentment into everything we do. Keep practicing!


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