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  • Ruth Ricks

Santosha

This week's Niyama is Santosha meaning contentment. This Niyama asks us to be happy with and acknowledge who we are and what we have. In theory this seems easy, but the practice is another thing. It requires that we take an honest look our ourselves in our current state and be happy and content. We have to remember not to think about where we want to be or where we used to be, but where we are right now.


I can't tell you how often I've been envious of what someone has, accomplished or experienced. It can be overwhelming, especially in these days of social media as we share highlights and curated moments of our lives. I often feel as if I'm missing out or not achieving all I should. But in that moment, it would be so much better for my peace of mind if I could share in that person's joy rather than feeling less than for not being in the same place. It's a subtle shift in thinking and reacting, but the effort is so worth it.


Santosha or being content with our current state doesn't mean we don't strive for more or try to grow. Of course, we temper what we go for with Aparigraha (non-greed) and find contentment in the journey, not reaching the destination. For instance, in working on flexibility in a pose. I can be happy with my Triangle pose and be thankful for my body and its ability to move, and work, and stretch and at the same time strive to find a little more length or focus. These things are not mutually exclusive. What I won't do, however, is compare myself to someone else or wish my body would find the pose like theirs does.

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