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Wk 128 – Niyamas – Santosa – Contentment

Last session we worked with Sauca which ‘cleans’ the physical, energetic and mental bodies in practice and shines a brighter clearer light to a deeper tranquil state of being. All of this is the pursuit to the state of Yoga. In this session we are working on the second Niyama, Santosa, which points you to have a more intimate and honest relationship with the whole of you, so you can practice just being present with ‘what is’ and that ‘what is’, is enough. From that acceptance of ‘what is’ in any given moment, it states it will bring you unsurpassed joy.

Sam (san) in sanskrit means completely, altogether and entirely – Tosa (tosha) means a state of contentment, satisfaction, acceptance, being comfortable. When we feel content and satisfied with our lives, there is a profound acceptance of ‘what is’ and delight, serenity, sincere gratitude arises.

Vyasa stated in his commentary of the Yoga Sutras that when Santosa is achieved it is measured by the “existence of a joyful and satisfied mind, regardless of one’s environment, whether one is met with pleasure or pain, profit or loss, fame or contempt, success or failure, sympathy or hatred.” That we let go of past and future attachments, to expectations of what wealth, knowledge, successes and all the outward seeking of what we think will bring us joy and happiness. To be free from the bondage of fear, scarcity and negativity as it always leads one to an increased experience of aversion, resistance, discontentment, dis-ease and discomfort. Santosa asks you to find acceptance for life as it is. Bhagavad Gita states that we should not look for happiness outside ourselves, but to realise peace and happiness lies within.

We are programmed neurologically to have a negative bias, seek out what is wrong and what will go wrong. That life is a problem and we need to fix, prevent and control people, places and things to make us feel better. This belief fundamentally contracts the shape of our mood, attitude and body. There is a saying that to escape the sharp prickles and thorns of this world that effect you, hurt you and create discomfort, you need only to wear shoes, rather than cover the earth with leather. The Yogi takes responsibility and accountability for their thoughts, emotions and actions by slipping on their own resources so life doesn’t affect them. One way we can self-reflect and understand is how we get our basic needs met to make better actions/karmas for ourselves and others.We all have a fundamental need to be safe, loved, feel belonging and connected to as well as fulfilling the Purusarthas, four basic desires:

  1. Dharma – Purpose,
  2. Artha – Means to support the purpose,
  3. Kama – Pleasure,
  4. Moksha – Spiritual liberation

When we feel safe and calm, when our lives feel meaningful and purposeful, when we feel creative and energised we can manage the unmanageable that comes across your path. A child gets ill, your car gets damaged, an unexpected bill arrives, you win the lottery, you get a promotion, all the exterior outward things that happen to us. You have a connection to this consistent, unchanging essence of you. That part of you that has been there when you were conceived, then born, through growth and to the present moment. It is said that your true Self is joyous, loving and always free.

So it takes great effort to cultivate the habit of being able to accept life’s circumstances, discern from what is attachment and what are your unmet needs. Watching what is motivating your negativity and distress in the body, energy and mind, as you practice self-awareness and understanding, you have the ability to refine your actions to keep showing up to practice and in life.

Worldly happiness – happiness with a cause, circumstances being the way you want them to. 

Sukkha – happiness without a cause, happiness with no reason.

Santosa is supported by Aparigraha Non-Attachment and Asteya Non-Stealing learning deeper lessons of Vairagya, letting go of sensory observations. Practicing the first 4 Stages of Yoga; Self-Awareness, Self-Understanding, Self-Acceptance and Self-Practice.

In practice while we do Asana, we will become aware of a story, commentary and judgement that affects our mood and attitude (Gunas). We practice letting go (Vairagya), non-possessiveness (Aparigraha) and we don’t waste our time (Asteya) as this is as good as it gets…this moment, right here and now. Joy and happiness will naturally arise when we accept the moment and reducing the doing and awaking to being. Rest and open your heart to what is right here.

Aspire to live this statement “I don’t mind what happens” 

*My wrist is wrapped up to offer myself support as I fell and waiting for it to heal. So I might be demonstrating different things on my hand that is injured. Please follow the healthy hand*