This past week, the theme of my yoga classes was "Santosha." It refers to the Niyama that encourages us to find contentment in our current state. Through santosha, we are taught to find peace in acceptance and to swim with the current. Santosha has been a topic on this blog before, and I find myself returning to it at certain times throughout the year, such as at its end, its beginning, nearing a sad anniversary or - as it so happens - all three of those times converging at once.
I don't think santosha extends to not changing the things we can and should change in our lives (ex: being content with an unhealthy relationship instead of freeing oneself or something similarly life diminishing). However, it does make me take a closer look at what I have in my life that is cause for happiness. It also helps me to find some comfort amidst the discomfort (my legs are achey, but I had a good run yesterday, for example).
While teaching preschool yoga at A Place to Grow in Salem during the week, our class theme was a preschooler-friendly take on Santosha: Peaceful Feelings. During the centering portion at the start of class, I asked the 3- and 4-year olds what made them feel peaceful. When I didn't get a response, I asked instead what they could touch that made them feel peaceful or safe. One little girl immediately answered, "Petting my puppy." Yes! So soft and warm and comforting, that feeling of petting a puppy or a grown dog (or cat) as it rests in your lap. In that moment, I realized that they could totally grasp the meaning of Santosha and that I - thanks to a child - had another option for finding my own peace and contentment.
How will you come to your Santosha at the start of this brand new year?
Peace to you, my friends.