Ive just returned from 5 weeks in India. I’m in love with India. It’s the birthplace of Yoga and it is a country where “Santosha” is rife!
Santosha is one of the Yogic principles laid down by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras ( written around 250BCE). It translates roughly as inner peace, contentment, acceptance of what is.
Growing up in the British culture of Striving;Always trying to improve,always looking to the next thing. Santosha often feels foreign, uncomfortable, even lazy.
This “contentment with what is”; is one of the Niyamas than I struggle with the most. How do we tackle Climate change with Santosha? How do we develope Santosha in a world where injustice and corruption have their tentacles everywhere? On my recent yoga training in Rishikesh India, we spent some time discussing this tricky concept and how Santosha can be translated into our yoga practice and into our daily life.
The great Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” is where Santosha resonates for me. Perhaps I will never have the strength to be able to press up into a handstand like the guy on the next mat…. BUT that’s ok …AND how wonderful that I have the time and space and functioning body and air in my lungs, to try.
It’s a challenge. Certainly. Turn on the news and you’ll quickly feel Santosha running through your fingers and a bitter impotent rage filling your belly instead. But start small. And remember ( in my opinion) Santosha does not mean- not striving for change. It simply means to work for that change, from a place of peace.
As I transition back from the simple beauty of life on holiday in India, to the hectic beauty of my real life back in London, I hope I can bring some Santosha with me. To expend less energy on being frustrated with things that I cannot change and to revel in the bliss of “what is” rather than “what might be” or “what was”. To be more present and more content.