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What Is Santosha Yoga? A Guide on Contentment and Acceptance

When you hear of Yoga you probably often think of down dog, up dog, sun salutations and warriors…  you think of the Yoga poses.

But did you know that the practice of Yoga is so much more than just the poses?

The physical practice of Yoga is what is called the Asana practice (all styles of physical Yoga fall into this: Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga etc.), the word Asana translates to posture or seat. This is just one element, or ‘limb’ of Yoga.

Traditionally there are 8 limbs of Yoga. This was first written within Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. 

The 8 limbs are an eight-fold path that leads the yogi to freedom. It is called the Ashtanga Yoga System: ashta meaning eight, and anga meaning limb. 

What are Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga?

  1. Yama – these are 5 moral codes, outlining how to show up socially within the world.
  2. Niyama – these are 5 internal observations, outlining how to show up internally and therefore externally within the world.
  3. Asana – the physical practice of Yoga poses and postures
  4. Pranayama – breathing techniques and lifeforce control
  5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the 5 senses
  6. Dharana – concentration
  7. Dyhana – meditation
  8. Samadhi – absolute bliss and enlightenment

Traditionally the Yogi follows this path in order to reach enlightenment

As you can see the mindset philosophy (yamas and niyamas) come BEFORE the physical Yoga class! This is why we forever say that Yoga is so much more than what happens on the Yoga mat. 

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Having a Yoga practice is about your daily life and how you show up in the world for yourself and for others.

The yogic philosophy provides a blueprint on how to live with kindness, compassion and integrity. It’s quite special when you start to dive into it!

Let’s chat Santosha, the second Niyama

Santosha falls into the second limb of Niyamas and is the second Niyama. Remembering that Niyamas are the way you observe yourself internally. 

The 5 Niyamas are:

  1. Saucha – translates to detoxification of mind and body
  2. Santosha – as already mentioned, contentment and acceptance
  3. Tapas – devoted discipline
  4. Svadhyaya – self awareness and self study
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender

So the word Santosha translates to contentment or acceptance. But what does this mean for you? And how do you go about practicing Santosha?

It really is a way of thinking about yourself, all that you are and all that you have. 

If you look at the current state of society, the majority of people are not satisfied, they are not content with who they are and what they have. Many people want to change their appearance, buy a bigger house, get another new dress, upgrade their car… it’s a forever searching and grasping for more.

But what if, right here, right now, you were enough? 

Can you see how this practice may in fact create a sense of peace and clarity? 

Instead of filling the mind with endless shoulds, woulds, coulds and wants, what if you decided to think differently.

This is a constant practice that needs to be within your daily life to make it your reality. For us, we intentionally dedicate our Yoga asana and Pilates practice to the act of acceptance. 

Every day we get on our Yoga mat, we remind ourselves that we are amazing, just as we are, that we have all that we need. This isn’t a practice of laziness or complacency, it simply makes the journey to whatever change or ambition you might have a more enjoyable one.

It’s saying, “hey, I would like to create this, or achieve this, but I’m enough already, so I’m not going to punish myself with self loathing thoughts just because I’m not there yet. I’m going to enjoy the journey, because the journey itself may well be the prize.”

This is why we created MerryBody, our Pilates and Yoga App, a method that combines both movement and the mindset practices of self acceptance and self belief. We saw the need for the practice of acceptance to spread far and wide.

Imagine the peace each human may feel if they in fact realised, they are amazing, without the need to get a 6 pack, or lose an extra 5 kilos. As a Yoga teacher (Carla) this excites me to think of a world like this. 

Our thoughts so often make our lives seem not good enough. When in fact so often our thoughts are not even true. 

If you want to try out a MerryBody class, sign up to a FREE YOGA CLASS over here!

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If you can learn to practice Santosha, the art of acceptance, it may be that your life becomes filled with more peace, calm, clarity and dare we say it: MAGIC!

If you’re a MerryBody Member, check out the Yoga class called Santosha Yoga!

Always merrymaking,

Emma + Carla

MERRYBODY

Move your body, find your joy,
and reignite your love for life.

MerryBody

Move your body, find your joy,
and reignite your love for life.

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