The Niyamas – Santosha by Lena Schmidt
The yogic journey, as defined by Patanjali (the ancient sage said to have authored the Yoga Sutras, a foundational text of yoga) is an eight-fold path. The eight limbs act as guidelines for how to live a healthy and meaningful life, tuned into ones own purpose and spiritual nature. The eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Over the next few weeks we’ll be diving deeper into each of the 8 Limbs here in this blog and in the Thursday, 9:00am, Yoga 1 class at the North Park studio. Enjoy your journey!
The second limb of the eight-fold path is the Niyamas, or attitudes and behaviors towards ourselves. The Niyamas are basically the moral “do’s.” The 5 Niyamas are Sauca, Santosha, Tapas, Svadyaya, and Isvarapranidhana.
The second of the Niyamas is Santosha. Santosha is contentment or satisfaction with what is. We can practice Santosha in yoga by:
*being okay with whatever is going on in the body, mind, and heart during the practice
*accepting and surrendering to what “is”
*not yearning for what was or what could be (for example: if you’re nursing an injury, take care, no need to push it)
*not being restless (try settling your body into stillness at different points throughout the practice)
We can practice Santosha in life by:
*noticing how restlessness manifests within you (what do you do to fill 10 minutes?)
*practicing gratitude for the things you have
*enjoying the present moment instead of dwelling on the past or projecting into the future
Practice tips: Make gratitude a daily practice! Dedicate a page in your journal or get a new journal for your gratitude practice. Each evening, write down five things, people, places, or ideas you are grateful for (anything goes! no rules!). Try this practice for 21 days (studies have shown this is the minimum amount of time needed to make or change a habit) and see how you feel.