santosha anuttamah sukha labhah YS 2.42
From an attitude of contentment (santosha), supreme joy is obtained.
“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.” -Swami Sivananda
The second niyama discussed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is santosha or contentment. The thinking is easy. In order to achieve great happiness, learn to be content with what you have and accept what is. Let go of expectations and rest easy in the flow of life. Learn that the state of mind does not depend on any external status or material things. The state of your mind and happiness depends on your perspective and willingness to remain calm with each success and failure.
This is isn’t always easy as we are faced daily with demanding jobs, excess bills and over-committed schedules, but all of those things can be fixed. They are not permanent. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but the key is that it can be done. You have the power to be happy right now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and connect with your joy. This is true contentment, not the material things around you.
The easiest way to practice santosha is to find gratitude in your life daily. Each day wake up and count at least 10 things you have to be grateful for. In the same way, seek abundance in your life in all that is around you. The sun in the sky, the green grass, the breeze that wisps across your neck. Make the most out of every situation. If you can, look for the humor in every day. I guarantee that laughter is the best medicine for any gloomy situation.
How do you practice with santosha? What makes you feel content and therefore happy? What tips or rituals do you use to seek santosha through your day?
Photo by Jenna Holloway