“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
Santosha, the second of Patanjali’s Niyamas, in our eight-limbed path of yoga means contentment. To be at peace within and content with one’s lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances. We should accept that there is a purpose for everything – yoga calls it karma – and we cultivate contentment ‘to accept what happens’. It means being happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don’t have.
This Niyama asks us to cultivate a life full of wonder, curiosity, and a deep love for everything that is, falling in love with life. If it is sunny, we are content. And if it rains, we are still content.
How many times when we wake up in the morning, we wish can don’t need to go to work, we wish we can sleep a little bit longer, we wish we can have less hectic-ness working life. We wish there is no deadlines to meet, or bills to pay. Even in our yoga journey, we wish we can do handstand like others. But… again it’s life. We have to learn to accept and be contented.
But santosha does not rest in acceptance. Contentment is not passive. Happiness is about finding contentment in the now. Santosa means practicing contentment in all things. It’s the active practice of accepting the way we are regardless what external circumstances, often beyond our control. Just be satisfied with whatever each day brings and welcome what we get.
To put santosha in our daily practice:
- Get mindful – Notice the times you are ‘living’ in the future or the past and bring your conscious awareness to what you are doing in this moment.
- Get grateful – Simply be contented with what you have now, there’s no comparison to anyone or anything else.
- Cultivating curiously – Contentment isn’t complacency so we let go of our preconceived judgments and opinions, and open ourselves up to experience life in its purity.
- On the mat – Always listen to our body, learn to accept our body and be contented what progresses that lead you onto. Be happier with where we are, because we see the wonderful qualities we already possess.