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This month at Kula Yoga we’ll focus on Santosha, which is Sanskrit for contentment. Being satisfied with our current situation can be a real struggle. There’s always something better we’re reaching for, something newer, shinier or more advanced. There’s always the latest smartphone, cooler yoga pants, or a better functioning car. Maybe it’s envying your friend’s new engagement ring, wishing you had a fitter physique, or feeling jealous of your neighbor’s trip to Bali. Wanting what we don’t have is the opposite of Santosha! Let’s explore how we can rouse contentment in our lives.
Muster gratitude: Instead of keeping count of the things we wish we had, how about noting the good stuff? Within every struggle we find a silver lining. Here’s an example from on the mat: Personally I don’t have much upper body strength so arm balances are really hard! I feel frustrated every time I face plant in Side Crow pose. Instead of getting hung up on what I can’t do, I try to look at the ways my body excels, like in flexibility. Also, I try to remember that each wobble in my arm balances is a chance to build strength, fire and perseverance. If everything were easy, accomplishments wouldn’t feel so great.
Practice acceptance: Some events in our lives we cannot control. However, it is up to us to monitor our reactions. By realising that we have no choice but to accept certain roadblocks and difficulties that arise, we are one step closer to contentment.
Learn from your struggles: We often focus on the outcome, and therefore ignore the cool things learned along the way. When we’re going through something hard, instead of dreaming about when it’s over or scheming up how to avoid feeling negative emotions, concentrate on what you’re picking up during the journey. Value progress over perfection!
As always, yoga is practice. In the same way we continue to work on our balance in Handstand, we must keep trying to settle into Santosha. Join us on the mat soon- the first step to finding contentment is mindfulness.
About the author: Miranda Raimon is a yoga instructor, Kula studio manager and freelance health & wellness writer from the San Francisco Bay Area.