Three years ago, if I had looked out my window this morning to see the soggy grey sky, I would have let that determine more of how I felt internally. This piece is focused around “Santosa.” Santosa (Contentment) is the second Nyama (personal ethics), the second limb in the 8 fold path of Astanga yoga. Santosa is one of the greatest gifts my yoga practice has brought me. And the deeper into my practice I reach, the more content I become. I am able to observe areas of my life, such as seasonal affective disorder, or so I thought I had, and see it from a new perspective. Our happiness and contentment seems far too dependent on outside factors such as the weather or what other people are and are not doing. Santosa allows us to be okay with the current condition of where we are, who we are with, and what is unfolding in the present. To not play the victim or blame anyone else for our situation. It teaches us to grasp the moment and realize the reality that the moment is it, and we must make the most of it. That doesn’t mean always observing our experiences as sunshine and flowers when they clearly are not such, but more so to accept our current state of being and find some peace in it, to find the lesson, to reach deeper into our own hearts and psyche and see the lesson, see how we are able to grow and let go.
My yoga practice has taught me to find the joy when its not obvious or presented for me. To do the work to make things what I want, and to let go of control when I don’t have that control. This is one of our greatest obstacles, and the root of the obstacle is our own self. to realize its not so much what unfolds for you in life, but how you choose to work with what unfolds in your life. We always have a choice.
Some times you find yourself in a yoga pose you aren’t thrilled about being in. You have the choice to not do the pose, and then realizing that you will always come back to that pose with the same attitude and frustration or fear. You also have the choice to explore the pose and find a way to make it work for you without force or afflicting pain. By accepting you can’t always have your way or gain control, finding your own unique balance. If you approach your asana practice in that manner, you will find there is always a practice and the pose is never done. The same approach goes for your approach towards your daily life experiences off the yoga mat.
So today, as I look out my window at the soggy grey sky, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else but here. I have my yoga practice, I have great coffee, I am healthy and live in a beautiful part of the world, with a roof over my head. With a whole lotta love. And so so much more.