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  • Gordon Kanzer

Santosha ~ Contentment

Updated: Sep 23, 2019


Photo from wou.edu

Santosha, or contentment, is the second of the five niyamas or observsances from Panatanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. Santosha can be achieved through non-attachment. By not attaching to any desired goals we can aspire to want what we have and not desire to have what we want. We try to practice yoga on and off the mat. Off the mat, acquiring material things may bring a sense of contentment, but that contentment may be fleeting. On the mat, attachment to performing an asana perfectly may set one up for failure and negative self-judgments. Even achieving that perfect posture ultimately may not give meaning to one's practice if not balanced with humility. Perhaps, santosha can be realized through gratitude, as happiness does not bring gratitude, but gratitude brings happiness. One who is grateful is more apt to be content. In the Kripalu yogic tradition, we end our practice by saying, "Jai Bhagwan!", which translates to a "blessed victory." How one's practice is a victory is up to individual interpretation. For me, the contentment that comes from being grateful for all of the blessings of my life is a true victory!



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