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Santosha & Self-Care by Julie Parvati Hillman

By Santosha Yoga

MON JAN 03, 2022

I hope the word “Santosha” sounds very familiar to you, as it is the name of this very yoga studio. But do you know its meaning?

Santosha, one of the Niyamas, means contentment. It is being okay with what is as it is; feeling no need or desire for things to be different than they are. And although it sounds easy to do, we are often waiting for the next thing to come along. It may be looking for a promotion, seeking a new job, wanting improved health, expecting the kids to clean their rooms on their own, anticipating our next meal, etc. It’s not a bad thing to seek improvements in our life situations. You should go after that promotion or a new job. You should seek ways to maintain your health or to get healthier. You should look forward to dinner. And, although I added this more for humor, eventually you should expect that your children will want a clean bedroom without your constant reminders. It’s when we become attached to these outcomes that we are no longer content.

Contentment comes from being truly present in the moment. With the above examples, it may show up as being grateful for having a job and family. For me, it was being able to be with my family this holiday, even if it wasn’t the holidays as I was used to. I feel grateful to be able to lead classes and share wisdom through all that 2021 (and 2020) has thrown at me.

Approaching the new year is always a time of reflection, intention setting, resetting. Discovering contentment as we move into 2022 is a wonderful way to bring peace and stillness into our lives. Some people call this “counting your blessings.” We usually consider only the good things that have happened as blessings; but what we label as “bad” are also blessings. Something may not have occurred the way we wanted, but perhaps that led us to a greater opportunity or better situation, or perhaps it was a lesson learned. I explain in Becoming Parvati that “contentment is neither liking nor disliking, it is not wanting anything to be different than it is. It is not needing to seek happiness in things or people; we can find happiness in ourselves moment to moment. The feeling of stillness, peace, the lack of anxiety or fear that one experiences does not compare to anything else. Those are words that describe what it's like to be truly present. Those are words that describe the feeling of being content.”

As we say goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022, my wish to you is that you may find contentment in your heart. May you carry it with you always.

To read more about Santosha and the other Niyamas, find your copy of Becoming Parvati here.