Teaching Ashtanga,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Yoga Sutras For Everyday Life: Santosha/Contentment

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

2:32 Cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study, and surrender to universal consciousness are the observances. 

2:42  By contentment, you gain unsurpassed joy

Being content, Santosha, means that your joy is not attached to the goings and comings of objects,emotions, people or situations.  The acquisition of things and experiences is fun. A yogi can acquire possessions and experiences with joy and have fun using them. However, they know that these can come and go and they don’t attach their happiness or well being to them.

Modern Day Examples:

There is a beautiful new car you would like. You like the way it looks. It is fun to drive. If you buy it, you will absolutely enjoy it. If you don’t get it, you will still be cool and enjoy what you currently have. You  decide to work towards saving money to get the car because it is beautiful and you would enjoy driving it.


You would like the next pose in the series, but you you don’t get it, you are cool. If you do get it, you are cool. You enjoy working towards it and your happiness and sense of self is not attached to it.

Why Is It Important?

As the verse states, it is the key to joy. If our joy is attached to things outside of us, when they go, we are no longer happy. The nature of life is change. So everything comes and goes. It cannot be held onto. When we understand this, we can begin to cultivate joy from within.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

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