Building positive relationships with others is only possible when you foster a healthy relationship with yourself first. But being content (Sanskrit: Santosha) with yourself and your life is sometimes harder than it looks. You may find yourself constantly comparing your life to those of others or you are simply never satisfied.
How many times have you thought ‘I’ll be happy when ...'? It seems like we look at happiness as a destination rather than a present situation. That is where Santosha comes to help.
What is Santosha?
Santosha is one of the bases of yogic principles. It helps you experience ultimate contentment with where you are right here and now without judgement and comparison. That does not mean sitting back and not doing anything about your life. It simply means that you are able to accept what is and be happy.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to let go of your expectations when your teacher begins yoga class by asking you to become more aware of your breathing without attempting to change it? That is a good example of Santosha.
It is accepting what is and stop yearning for the missing pieces.
3 ways to practise Santosha
Whether they are food cravings, unfulfilled desires, a lack of self-acceptance or a desire for material possessions, a Mantra meditation can help you replace obsessive thoughts with positive thoughts. This will increase your overall happiness and improve the way you deal with your thoughts. It is like giving your mind a break.
- Set your timer for 10-20 minutes.
- Find somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
- Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths.
- Inhale and exhale slowly.
- End your session by sitting in silence for a few seconds.
You would be surprised at how practising gratitude in your day-to-day can change your mindset forever. Set aside 10 minutes in your day to write down everything you are grateful for – from the smallest thing to the biggest one. Now read this list aloud and let it sink in. You are luckier than you thought you were, aren’t you?
Counting your blessings every day and cultivating a feeling of gratitude in your heart go a long way in making you more content with what you currently have.
Sama Vritti Pranayama
Sama Vritti is one of the first breathing techniques taught in yoga and is simple enough to teach to just about anyone. Also known as box breathing, this technique aims to equalise and harmonise the energy that flows through the body. It also helps calm anxiety and stress and improves the ability to breathe more deeply.
People who practice this yoga breathing technique regularly will find they are more focused and able to experience deep states of relaxation.
Sama Vritti can be practised at any time of the day, but it is essential that you find a calm and quiet place where you will not be interrupted.
- Sit cross-legged on the mat with your back straight, and place your hand on your legs with your palms facing up and the tips of the index finger and thumb touching.
- Find your breath — close your mouth and inhale and exhale through the nose.
- Take slow and deep breaths. Breathe in and out at your own pace.
- Inhale on the count of 4, hold your breath for 4, exhale on the count of 4, then hold your breath for 4 again.
- Repeat the breathing cycle 2 to 4 times.