Yoga Philosophy: Santosa


Santosa (pronounced: Sahn-toe-sha) is part of the Niyamas ("rules" for self-observance) and it means being content with what we have. Practicing santosa in our lives will bring us a sense of peace and inner joy. 

I find that practicing santosa in my life is simple if I'm mindful about it. For example, when we were driving to Florida for our summer break, we stopped in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, for those of you who have never been, is an awesome city! It's also really, really humid. And for someone who isn't accustomed to the humidity, it can be oppressing. Throughout the day I caught myself saying out loud, "Ugh, it's so gross out. Ugh, I'm sweating already. Ugh, the air is so heavy and sticky."

But then I stopped myself and looked around. I thought to myself, "Ok, the weather might not be what I'm used to, but it's beautiful here. The sun is shining. My dog is welcome on the beach. There's a nice breeze by the ocean and the water is warm enough to swim." I turned it around and began to focus on what I did have, rather than what I didn't. This is santosa.

In a culture that lives and breathes consumerism, santosa can be difficult to practice. But by being mindful about acknowledging and feeling grateful for what you do have, rather than what you don't is a sure way to bring awareness and peace into your life.