Practicing Santosha On and Off The Yoga Mat

Santosha, or commitment, is both an inner state and an attitude. One of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it is taught during yoga teacher training at The Yoga Connection.

What is Santosha?

Santosha is “complete acceptance or commitment.” It comes from the Sanskrit roots: sam (completely or entirely) and tosha (acceptance and contentment).

Santosha teaches us to let go of what you can’t control. It teaches us to stop seeking happiness from outside sources, focus on what is good in our lives right now, and realize that happiness is inside us. While this is an easy concept to understand, it is understandably difficult to achieve.

Everyone gets caught up in thoughts like, “I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds” or “I’m not good enough.” Santosha is about putting these thoughts aside to accept and appreciate what we already are and what we already have, and moving forward from there.

Practicing Santosha On and Off the Mat

We often slow down during the summer, so this is a great time to begin practicing santosha. During your downtime this summer, start noticing your thoughts and seeing if there are ways to change your view.

Santosha as Part of Your Yoga Practice

Whether you practice yoga in a studio with others or at home by yourself, it’s common to compare yourself to others and think you “should” be able to get deeper into a pose or hold a pose longer than you comfortably can.

Practicing santosha on the mat means we let go of these assumptions, stop comparing ourselves to others, and stop pushing poses further than is comfortable. It’s also important to remember that what you could do yesterday, you may not necessarily be able to do today. Accept your limits and focus on what your body can do at that moment.

Santosha in Your Everyday Life

Many times we chase happiness in material possessions, feelings, or even other people. Since we have no control over these things, we may feel happy when we attain them, but that feeling isn’t sustainable. This causes us to continually chase that happiness in more things, people, or feelings. Unless you consciously break the cycle, it will continue on.

Practicing santosha off the mat involves being content with who you are and what you have right now. Resist the urge to make future promises like, “I’ll be better when I have that new car/job/more money.” While that may be true, dwelling on it will never bring contentment or happiness. Focus on what is good in your life at this moment and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you realize that things are better than you thought.

Start Practicing Santosha at The Yoga Connection in Smithfield!

Whether you’re interested in yoga teacher training or you’re new to yoga, we have classes for everyone. To learn more, call us at  919-971-1431 or check out our class descriptions and class pass to find the perfect class for you!