Niyama #2 Santosha
The second niyama is Santosha, which translates as contentment. Yes, this is the same name as our beloved little neighborhood yoga studio in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. In fact, I wrote an article about the name Santosha in April, 2012, and you can read it here. But for the sake of this series, I will write another explanation of this incredibly life-changing niyama, a.k.a. personal discipline.
Practicing contentment sounds pretty simple, and it is, but the effects of such a practice are anything but simple. They are devastatingly impressive. One can find many quotes about contentment from the Bible, Mother Teresa, Socrates, or even Lao Tzu. The subject is a popular one, because it is so powerful, accessible, and attainable for all of us.
The reason it is so life-changing is the effect it has on your outlook. When practicing contentment, you recognize all the blessings you have in your life, in whatever circumstances you find yourself. Santosha is a conscious choice to appreciate what you have, not focus on what you think you don’t have. It isn’t just giving up or “accepting your fate”. It isn’t complacency. It isn’t settling or even satisfaction when you’ve achieved a goal. It is actively remembering the benevolence that surrounds your every breath.
Think of the people you enjoy being around the most: perhaps their presence is so delightful because of their simple ability to be content. Try it for yourself, this practice of Santosha. Contentment fills an imaginary hole that otherwise existed in your heart.