Hey there Yogis!
In our last post, we talked about Yamas and Niyamas: the first two limbs of the Yoga Sutras, used as guidelines in yogic philosophy. We defined Yamas as “restraints” and Niyamas as "observances", and we reflected on one of the yamas: Ahimsa, which invites us to live in non-violence.
Today we would like to delve deeper into one of the niyamas: Santosha. Santosha challenges us to go further: to live in non-violence and contentment, falling in love with our own life.
Santosha invites us into contentment by taking refuge in a calm center, opening our hearts in gratitude for what we have. It asks us to embrace what life is offering at this exact moment.
Practicing gratitude protects us from our own pettiness and smallness and keeps us centered in the joy and abundance of our own life.
Arriving at contentment can be confusing. The map isn’t always clear and we can’t just “do” our way into it. It’s a process of softening around our expectations so that we may embrace our life as it is.
Are you able to practice gratitude? Can you embrace what it is? Can you fall in love with your own life?
I. A quote by Emma Newlyn
Searching outside ourselves for happiness in any form, whether it be substances, people or possessions, just leads to yet more searching.
The things around us, our experiences and our emotions are constantly changing as they are part of prakrti or nature, but our true Self is completely unchanging. Who we really are and always will be is completely good enough already.
We have a habit of waiting to ‘be ourselves’ until we’ve accomplished this never-ending to-do list of things that will make us ‘better’. Well, the truth is – you will always be you, and you can either continue to disregard your awesomeness in favour of reaching towards something you think you’re supposed to be, or appreciate it, love it, and be the best you can be right now. Truly, authentically, unapologetically you. Content with all you are and all you have, because no one else can offer the world what you have to offer.
To come closer to finding peace, Santosha is undeniably one of the most important practices to come back to consistently – we cannot love, trust, give or live fully until we have enough of that love inside ourselves.
II. Bow Pose: Dhanurasana
Dhanurasana comes from the Sanskrit word for “bow” as the whole body is bent into the shape of an archer’s bow. This heart-opening backbend stretches your hip flexors and hamstrings while strengthening your back. It helps improve your posture by opening your chest and shoulders, counteracting the time you spend hunched over your computer.
At the same time, arching the back and reaching for the feet requires surrender and trust in the process. This can teach us to let go of attachments and expectations, fostering a sense of surrender and acceptance in life.
Finally, like all backbends, Bow Pose energizes and stimulates the adrenal glands, which can help us fight fatigue. It also increases blood flow to our digestive system.
III. Penguin Bloom | Movie
In Penguin Bloom, Naomi Watts portrays Sam Bloom, a vibrant and adventurous woman who, after a tragic accident, becomes paralyzed from the waist down. This life-altering event shatters her world and leaves her feeling despondent and hopeless. The film explores her emotional struggles, feelings of loss, and difficulties in adjusting to her new reality.
The turning point comes when an injured magpie chick, named Penguin, is brought into her life. Through taking care of the baby bird and watching her grow, the family bonds and Bloom finds a new sense of purpose.
The film emphasizes that life may not always go as planned, and we might face unexpected challenges. However, like Sam Bloom, we have the power to cultivate contentment and acceptance, no matter the circumstances. Through this process, we can find beauty and happiness in the simplest of things, cherishing the relationships and connections that bring meaning to our lives.
Watch the trailer here.
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