LIVING THE YOGIC PRINCIPLES: SANTOSHA
LIVING THE YOGIC PRINCIPLES: SANTOSHA.
Imagine a little girl or boy, her/his mother is constantly saying: “If you do your homework, you will get a reward” so the kid does it and then very excited asks the mother to give what she had promised. But the mother says “Well, you also have to do this other homework and then you will get your reward”. The kid again performs the additional task, hoping this time he will get the so desired reward. The mother then replies saying that something else needs to be done, maybe to organise the room, or to clean up the house, or anything else. The story repeats again and again and the little one gets excited every single time, to then be disappointed because a new request is given. At some point, wouldn’t the poor kid just stop believing to these promises?
It is probably not exactly the same but our mind is pretty much like that “not so loving” mother. And for some reason we never stop believing that we will receive that final reward. Again and again our mind tells us “once you get X you will be happy” so we focus our energy on that and we really believe that then we will be finally happy and everything will be fine. But when we finally obtain whatever it is that we were working for, that feeling of completeness or happiness stays for a very short time, days, hours, sometimes it doesn’t even really happens. There is always something else I need, so now we go after that new thing hoping that then it will happen. Then, I will be happy. The story repeats infinite times, a new job, a better salary, a bigger house, a boyfriend/husband, an unforgettable holiday, achievements, goals, name it, anything. There is always something. We postpone our happiness multiple times, waiting for that future. Guess what? Keep doing it forever and… It will never happen!
But this is not meant to make us feel depressed or hopeless. What I am trying to say is not that we will never be happy. I am saying that it won’t happen when we get anything of these achievements or goals. The good news is, there is no need to keep waiting for that future, we can start now. Developing “Santosha":Contentment.
Santosha is one of the Yogic Niyamas (behaviours or attitudes towards ourselves) at the base of the Yoga Path. Santosha means contentment, being content with what we are and what we have NOW, not in the future. This doesn’t mean that we live our life without progress. We do want to grow and develop ourselves, improve our situation and have goals. But while we walk towards these goals, we are happy. We enjoy where we are and who we are. We accept today as it is. We are fine now, not tomorrow. Not in a distant future that never really comes. I am happy now. With what I have, with who I am.
I hear you, it is not that easy. How can we develop Santosha? The principle behind Santosha is Gratitude, appreciation of what we have which leads to realisation that we have so much. When we think about reasons to be grateful for we tend to think on major events. To develop this feeling of gratitude we have to think not necessarily on something big, it can be little details that we sometimes take from granted but that make a big difference in our lives. It is a good practice to meditate on the small details, visualising ourselves going through all these details in a normal day: having a warm, comfortable place to sleep, being able to get up in the morning without need of assistance, having a meal available for us, commuting to work and arriving safe, being physically healthy, having the time and the resources to work on our minds and bodies. If we enumerate these details, we realise that we have so much. To connect deeper to this feeling you can visualise someone in your life you are grateful to have. Visualise what that person gives to your life, how it makes it easier or more fulfilling. Again, think on all the little details, there might be someone that makes possible for you to have a ready meal, to commute safely, someone takes care of your family while you are away, someone that listen and talk to you, someone that requires of your skills so you can have a job, someone you come to at the end of the day. You are not alone. All of them are making your life better in different ways.
Making this a regular practice in our lives, undoubtedly we will develop this feeling of gratitude. And gratitude and unhappiness can’t no coexist at the same time. If we are grateful, it is impossible to be unhappy. That’s how gratitude leads to contentment and happiness.
On this you can meditate every day to develop contentment in your heart. Whatever is happening, I am grateful, I am content. Today, not tomorrow. I am no longer waiting to reach somewhere or something to be happy. I walk forward to reach my goals being aware that I have so much. I am grateful, I am happy.
I hope this supports you on your path to happiness.
If you are spending more time sitting on the floor to meditate or practising yoga, you will need a mat that provides excellent cushion and grip. If you care about being gentle with your body and reducing waste for the earth then you might want to check these Eco friendly natural rubber yoga mats. Made of biodegradable natural rubber and free from toxic chemicals and PVC, better for you and for the planet. On top of that, the designs were hand-painted by myself. Made with love to inspire your practice.