2.2. Niyama: Santosha - Contentment

Continuing our exploration of the 8 limbs of Yoga (8 limbs of Yoga blog post), according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

We have so far covered the 5 Yamas (Yamas blog post) - the restraints, relating to creating balance in our external world.

The 5 Yamas are:

1. Ahimsa - non-harming, non violence - (Ahimsa, the 1st of the Yamas blog post)

2. Satya - truthfulness - (Satya, the 2nd of the Yamas blog post)

3. Asteya - non-stealing - (Asteya, the 3rd of the Yamas blog post)

4. Brahmacharya - moderation, right use of energy - (Brahmacharya, the 4th of the Yamas blog post)

5. Aparigraha - non-attachment, non-hoarding, non-greediness - (Aparigraha, the 5th of the Yamas blog post)

Moving on to the 5 Niyamas - the 5 observations or self training recommended to create balance in our inner world.

The 5 Niyamas are:

- Saucha - cleanliness - (Saucha, the 1st of the Niyamas blog post)

- Santosha - contentment

- Tapas - commitment, daily practice

- Svadhyaya - self-study

- Isvara-pranidhana - surrender

Next up form the Niyamas is Santosha - Contentment. The Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.42 relating to Santosha states 'One established in contentment attains supreme happiness'.

Photo credit: yogainternational.com

For me personally, this recommendation is really the key to happiness, to inner peace. What does contentment mean? It means being contented with what we have, not desiring more than what we need. It means being contented in all situations, under all circumstances (not complaining constantly). It means that there is no need to strive to 'be something' or 'achieve something' as we are perfect the way we are already.

What is the easiest road to contentment? An attitude of gratitude. As part of my morning routine, I start my day with 3 things I am truly thankful for. When your heart is full of what you have, there can only be less focus on what you do not have.

Photo credit: unknown

A.A. Milne says it beautifully:

"'What day is it?' asked Pooh.

'It's today' squeaked Piglet.

'My favorite day' said Pooh."

Positive affirmations for contentment from the Kripalu Center:

'I am content. I am grateful for what I have and for what I do not have'

'I learn from the joys and disappointments life brings me'

'I honour the good in myself and others and I refrain from fault-finding'

'I accept life just the way it is. I enjoy my life'


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