Santosha: Let’s Talk About Joy!

Let’s talk about joy! The Niyama are the second limb in the eight limbs of yoga, and are personal observances. The second Niyama, Santosha (संतोष) means “contentment and joy.” 

The good news is that santosha is our birthright; we do not need to earn it. A santosha practice can help us connect with an inner joy that cannot be given, and cannot be taken away. Your job as a yoga practitioner and/or teacher is to cultivate contentment and joy!! What a great job!!

When practicing asana, can you find contentment in a pose that isn’t your favorite? Or in a pose that is challenging for you? Even though it’s not considered a difficult pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana (or extended side angle pose)  is not my favorite.  (Yes, I know I can use props, still doesn’t make me fall in love with it!). When this happens,  I find it helpful to focus on a mantra. One that was given to me by one of my teachers is: Breathe in contentment. Breathe out joyfulness. You can use this during asana practice, or at any other time of the day!

Poses that are challenging for me, I actually like. It’s why I’ve started adding inversions back into my practice. So, I invite you to take some time to connect to the things that bring you joy and practice them!