Santosha

How do you view your life right now?

What words would you use to sum up an average day?


 

When speaking to a dear friend of mine recently, I marveled at his life with his husband and used the term “exciting” to describe it. He was so quick to refute that! He, instead, offered the word “boring”.  I argued back, stating that no, in fact, it was MY life that lacked intrigue. Is this what it’s like, being an adult these days? Competing to see whose life is the most dull?!

This brings me to my last assignment for yoga teacher training a couple weekends ago. The class was asked to come in on Sunday morning, ready to share what transpired during the previous 12 hours, and link it to some part of yoga. As we sat in a circle, I volunteered to go first, and immediately announced that my night had been boring. I am a stay at home mom to a toddler, so my evenings are pretty routine:

-my husband Pete comes home
-we eat dinner
-Willow gets a bath
-Pete takes the dog out
-Pete brushes Willow’s teeth
-hopefully I get to shower and brush my own teeth
-I read Willow several stories and sing several songs, then put her to bed
-I practice yoga and/or meditation for a few minutes before climbing into bed
-I scroll through Instagram like a robot
-Pete and I watch Unsolved Mysteries or The Voice until we fall asleep

Like my friend’s reaction to the word “exciting”, my teacher Marc was quick to dispute my use of “boring”, but I went on to explain what aspect of yoga I was able to connect it all to. I chose santosha. In yoga, santosha is one of the niyamas (a series of ethical activities and habits necessary for a healthy life, liberated existence, and the path toward enlightenment) and its literal translation from Sanskrit is “contentment”.

I have not felt such satisfaction or happiness in my life as I do right here and now. I moved several times throughout my young adult years, worked at many different places, dated different people, and never felt committed to much of anything, or anyone; I was always searching for the next exciting or interesting thing. It was an endless cycle that I lived in for way too long before seeing it for what it was.

This homework assignment really provided me the opportunity to reexamine the choices I’ve made in my life, and my feelings about them. Things are not perfect (that’s unattainable, anyway) and most days my patience gets worn real thin REAL fast.

But.

I chose all of this! I am where I am because I want to be, and I’m grateful to have such an abundance of bliss and comfort, even if moments of disappointment, discouragement, anger, or frustration are also peppered throughout. I value all of the (sometimes severe) ups and downs of my daily existence, and I am comfortable in its predictability.

So, santosha it is. I am content.

Namaste.

Relating the Niyama Santosha to Everyday Life

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