Santosha. 'Contentment brings unsarpassed joy' ,according to Patanjalis yoga sutra 2:42. Oooo that sounds good already!! Who wouldn't want a little bit of 'unsarpassed joy' in their lives?!
Although it may seem simple, contentment is a super hard thing to master in this ever changing modern world; there is always something new, something to renew and that new thing you brought last week, well it already needs upgrading!
Being content is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.
It is an active practise requiring us to change our outlook on life to be more focused on accepting our present than planning what will make us happier in our future. This doesn't mean that you don't want to see change, change is great but act out that change with positivity from the start.
Think of contentment as a choice; it’s a way you choose to be, not something brought about by the perfect alignment of circumstances.
Here are a few tips to get you started...
Grattitude lifts your attitude. Be thankful for every little thing. Acknowledge it. See how much happier that makes you!? We are all very quick to notice the negatives in a situation but very slow to see the good.
Don't compare yourself to others. One of the best sayings regarding this is, 'comparison is the thief of joy'. Just don't do it. Stop it... right now. You are you, you are lovely, so are they but that doesn't make you less lovely... got it? Lets accept it and move on.
Focus on what you already have.
In class I always say, 'relax, don't force it. Just accept where you are now'. It may not be where you want to be but no matter how much you strain yourself to get your head to your knee my friend it isn't going to get there like that! In class we need to accept that things take time. That hips are tight and that shoulders are achey. That yoga takes practise and focus. Just accept that where you are now is exactly where you need to be, where you are now is perfect.
So lets all try for that unsarpassed joy. After all, it's right there; in the sun coming through the window, the cup of tea on the table, the dog snoring at your side, the warm socks on your feet and the breath in your lungs...
And if you don't believe me or even Patanjali, Williams Shakespeare had a few words to say on the matter...
'My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: My crown is called content: A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.' ~William Shakespeare