Carolyn Young

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What is true happiness?


Santosha is a Sanskrit word that translates as contentment. It is the second of the niyamas, the rules of conduct that apply to individual discipline as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 

Humans are usually elated by accomplishments. We look forward to this feeling of happiness, and most of what we do is based on the experience of pleasure. We live in a world based on consumerism, and although being able to buy all you want is a good reason for happiness, this so-called happiness is short-lived and momentary. Once it fades, we go back to the want and the need to fill that empty space with the happiness sensation, again and again, creating a never-ending cycle.

Contentment, on the other hand, is a state of mind. A sensation of satisfaction and peace. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. Happy just because, no matter the situation or the circumstances. Happy with what you have. You do not obtain contentment by a large bank account, or buy it at the mall. No amount of possessions can give you this kind of joy; it is obtained from a higher consciousness. This type of happiness stays with you and never goes away. 



Santosha is a practice, an acceptance for what is. This practice also develops the equanimous and objective mind. The equanimous mind is able to focus its attention on a single point, which is one of the main goals of yoga.

The person who practices santosha avoids judging the immediate results, as either good or bad. Instead, he is mindful of the overall result. The end result of santosha is peace and everlasting joy.

How can you practice santosha in your daily life?

You may start by practicing gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal or make a list of what you are grateful for every day.

Be mindful and focus on what you do have and not on what you don’t have.

Being content doesn’t mean acceptance without reason. It definitely doesn’t mean we shouldn't want better things, pursue our dreams, or buy that fancy car or a bigger house. True contentment means that with or without those things your state of happiness and inner peace doesn’t change. It is knowing that you do not need these things to be happy. 

Lots of love,


Carolyn YoungComment