by Ali Valdez
We live in a complex world of increasing disillusionment, hopelessness, and pressures to achieve and consume. Somewhere between skipping stones on a glassy water surface with bare feet in the mud as a kid and the fancy car or big house whose empty rooms you try to fill by over-working on goals that you yourself did not define for yourself there is a gaping hole we are all seeking to fill. Personal achievement, fulfillment in life, and family gets us partially there, and yet, there is still something missing. The finish line remains elusive. What is it?
Santosha, or contentment, is one of the five niyamas of the eight-limb path. This is the art of being sweetly wedged between everything going the way you want and the daily disappointments and frustrations that come when everything is falling apart and not caring either way. This is not about pre-dispensation towards things going our way, it isn’t about our personal agendas. Santosha is less about the external oceans of life flowing in and out on our schedule; it is more about taming the raging waters within whereby our consciousness and spirits through yoga, breath, and meditation become that very glassy water surface that no stone of the outside world can skip and ripple.
Taking this lens, we don’t require a rose-hued glass, nor do we require any particular desired outcome. We just learn to maintain a symbiotic relationship with ourselves. The greatest abundance of all is not needing anything to feel happy and free.
We can use yoga as a platform and a tool to come into our own understanding of self. The philosophy provides a framework; the practice paves the road.
As you examine your year in retrospect, focus on the blessings, the times of gratitude, and the friends and family that bring you joy. Looking forward, continue your yoga, adopt a daily gratitude practice, anticipate that life will throw you the occasional curveball but stay resolved on finding the friend within to help you navigate the waters of life. Alter your mindset focusing more on what you can give, rather than what you expect to receive. Set goals that feed your spirit and benefit others. Set aside your valuable time to things that help you achieve your personal best. Less is more in 2017, a cycle of new beginnings. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Want to learn ways to apply yoga philosophy and principles to support your goals and bring you increased contentment? Check out the Sattva Yoga Studios 40-Day-Challenge starting Tuesday, January 10th.