Santosha: The Second Yogic Niyama
Santosha, otherwise known as contentment, invites us into contentment by appreciating a calm center, a heart that is open in gratitude and practicing the paradox of “not seeking.” As Deborah Adele graciously explains in her interpretation of the yamas and niyamas, people in the West are always getting ready to live. We are raised to look forward to the next event, the next milestone, the next thing in life. How many times have you found yourself saying “I can’t wait for…”? This society lives in a state of seeking the next event that will make us happy. This removes us from the present moment and appreciation for what we have now.
Wanting what we don’t have causes us to feel inadequate. On the contrary, if we are all purely in the moment, the moment is complete exactly as it is, for good or for bad. Life and each moment in life is teaching; it’s the definition of evolution. If we embrace the idea of entering this world with a predetermined path, then everything we experience was meant to help us gain further knowledge for the life after this life. Removing our sense of lack takes effort, commitment and perseverance.
As the owner of a wellness studio, I am lucky to have a platform to express my feelings in a more public manner than most. I believe that honesty and vulnerability encourage others to become more honest in their own lives, understanding that we are not alone in struggles. I am in a constant state of self-evaluation, self-study and self-improvement. We all face challenges or difficulties. Sometimes we manage them well and other times we don’t, which is okay. How we grow from each event helps mold our future and is the key to growth.
Contentment is such a wide concept and we all have different interpretations of it. In recent times, I decided to measure my level of contentment on how I felt at the end of each day. When I rest my head on my pillow at night, am I relaxed? Did I do my best? Did I encourage someone to evolve? Did I challenge myself in my occasional narrow view of reality? When I am clear-minded and living in alignment with my sankalpa (intention) in life, I feel whole and content in my universe.
As each day comes, I know I am one step closer to my North Star. He has guided me through each step of my life, and I am grateful for all of the hiccups, challenges and difficult moments in my world. I am content; I am practicing the philosophy of santosha; I am finding contentment of the heart. And now, I welcome you to do the same.
Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Studio in Randolph, New Jersey.
as published in Natural Awakenings, North New Jersey