The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali were written in Sanskrit in the second century BC and are the foundation of many modern day yoga practices. Understanding the Yoga Sutras is an important part of our Yoga Teacher Training program in Smithfield and Goldsboro. One of these yoga principles suggestions for improving inner discipline and how we relate to ourselves is Santosha, which means contentment or satisfaction.
What is Santosha
Santosha means to be content with the situation we are in, no matter the time or place in our lives. Being satisfied does not mean that you no longer set goals and strive towards them, or do not try to make changes in your life. It means that you have an enthusiasm for your life as it is. That you appreciate the time it takes to achieve your goals like getting your Yoga Certification and the steps along the way.
“It’s not fatalism; it’s not to say you can’t change your reality,” says Stephen Cope, the author of The Wisdom of Yoga. “But just for the moment, can you let go of the war with reality? If you do, you’ll be able to think more clearly and be more effective in making a difference.”
Contentment in Yoga Practice
On your yoga mat, being content means loving your body as it forms each yoga pose, and keeping your focus on yourself. Recognizing you may not be able to fold in half as far as your yoga instructor. Avoiding a feeling of superiority to someone whose arms are shaking in the plank pose. Accepting what your body brings to the mat that day – whether it’s a sore shoulder, tender knee, or a graceful forward fold – and not comparing it to a previous practice. Know that the yoga pose you are in is perfect for you at this time and this place.
Contentment in Life
True contentment is being satisfied with what you have in your life, right now. If you are having a bad day or are stressed about something, the practice of Santosha allows you to isolate that one negative and still be fulfilled with your live overall. It means you do not let traffic on the way to work ruin your morning, and that you appreciate that you do have a job and a car. When your child interrupts your favorite tv show with “Mom, I want pancakes, NOW”, it means that you know how happy you are to have them in your life (and that you have a pause button on your DVR).
The Dalai Lama said “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’”
Do you already have everything that you really need?