As we begin another new year and consider setting intentions for 2022, it’s easy to lean on the idea of letting go. If you’ve practiced yoga in a studio or an online class setting, you’ve probably heard this phrase often – that we should let go of attachments, the past, the idea that the future has to look a certain way…the list of things to let go of goes on and on.
While that idea isn’t wrong, perhaps it’s time to take a different spin for 2022.
Finding Contentment in the New Year
There’s a concept in yogic philosophy called santosha, which roughly translates to “contentment” in English. In the eight-limbed path of yoga, santosha is the second of the niyamas, which are essentially a set of guidelines related to how yogis should treat themselves.
Santosha goes a little bit further than the English word contentment. It involves a deep inner focus on accepting and appreciating your current state of being so that you truly see what you have and are as enough. In other words, santosha doesn’t necessarily require letting go – but it does require letting things be.
To truly focus on santosha as your intention for the new year, there are a few things you can do:
Being content means being satisfied with everything exactly as it is. The good, the bad – and even the painful. Remind yourself to be present in the moment you’re in, and that everything, including the most challenging seasons, is temporary.
In a society where it’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people’s highlight reels, it can be tempting to get caught up in feelings of inadequacy. Repeating this simple mantra – whether out loud to yourself in the mirror, in your mind throughout the day, or during a yoga practice – can reinforce the basic but important affirmation that who you are and what you have is already enough.
Practicing yoga offers physical benefits – who doesn’t feel better after a good stretch and deep breathing? – but what keeps many practitioners coming back to their mats for the long term are the mental and emotional benefits that come with a consistent practice. Taking time to do something positive for yourself will help cultivate santosha – and is a great way to start the new year on a positive note.