As, I wrote earlier aparigraha is one of my favourite yamas lately. Aparigraha is linked with santosa, logically I consider santosa as one of my favourite niyamas. Santosa can be translated into contentment of life the way it is. It involves a state of self-acceptance and understanding that wherever you are that is where you are supposed to be. Yogis call it Karma – accepting that there is a purpose for everything, even for the challenges and obstacles in your life. It includes being happy with what you have rather than being unhappy about what you do not have. It requires willingness to enjoy what each day brings including embracing the difficult moments. I find it relatively easy to practise contentment while sitting in the sunshine with my lovely partner and enjoying the amazing sea view. But what about the challenging times in life? A couple of months ago, I was about to go to a job interview, when the car broke down and there was no other transport available. I find it hard to keep calm, content and peaceful if I am in the midst of a situation like that. Though, afterwards I can usually see the gift of a difficult event. In this case, I was not really enthusiastic about the job interview in the first place and soon another job opportunity arose.
For most of us, the deepest contentment comes at those moment when you feel at ease, happy and in flow with life. If you are conscious of these moments, you can strengthen the feelings of contentment for longer periods. This consciousness can be the start of greatly enjoying the simple things in life; drinking a cup of tea with your mother, breathing the fresh air while going for a morning walk or watching the birds flying around a tree. This creates an opportunity to experience life more intensely and deeply in the moment. If this state of contentment becomes a familiar place, you can return to this state of mind every time, even if you are surrounded by chaos and disharmony.
Practicing gratefulness is a form of santosa. The realization of all the good things you have in life – fresh air, a roof over your head, food on your plate, surrounded by lovely people – will increase your contentment. You can start practising contentment by accepting yourself truly and wholly exactly the way you are; praise your skills, characteristics and achievements. Followed by accepting persons you meet on your life’s journey. Practising santosa will lead you to true inner freedom wherever you are and whatever you do.