Yoga continues to invite us on an inward journey to discover how we think, feel and act in our own lives. Santosha is known as the jewel of contentment- it asks us to be grateful for what we have without the constant striving to have, be and do more.
I have a girlfriend who used to say: when I meet the right man or when I find the right job, right house, lose weight; the list went on and on. Then she could be happy.
This constant striving for something outside of ourselves takes away our ability to focus on being totally with what is right in front of you in each moment. To allow life to unfold in its own divine order.
Contentment does not mean complacency, rather it has layers of meaning that invite you to use the tools of yoga to stay in your calm center so that you can participate fully in life. Or, as the saying goes “Keep calm and carry on.”
It feels like this message is more important than ever in our current social challenges. Between the upcoming election, the natural disasters which point to how much climate change is affecting our environment, to the ongoing coronavirus, social unrest, widespread hunger and so much more. If you get caught in ruminating too much about the state of the world then it can overwhelm you. Better to use your energy to figure out what action you can take in order to effect positive change.
For me, the best tools of yoga to help me maintain santosha are the practices of pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. It is the nature of the mind to wander and be restless. Taking time each morning and/or evening with a daily practice of pranayama and meditation will help you access your calm center. I sit upright in a chair with my feet planted and practice ujaii (ocean sounding) breathing for 2-3 minutes, followed by alternate nostril breathing for another 2-3 minutes then I use the mantra of so hum to move gently into meditation for 10-15 minutes or more. It trains my mind to calm down.
Then as I go through my day, I feel more aware to my surroundings and more capable of seeing the beauty all around as well. Today, on my walk in the woods I noticed two young deer and as I stopped to just observe I made eye contact with one of them and I felt a sense of peace and connection. Meditation heightens this ability to be present along with helping you access your own inner guidance system of intuition.
Keeping a gratitude journal where I write down everything that I am grateful for before going to bed is another tool I use. It sets the tone for a restful night’s sleep which is imperative for health and well-being.
How can you stay in a state of santosha? I would enjoy hearing your journey to contentment. Feel Free to comment on our Facebook Page anytime!