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niyama: santosha

In my yoga training, the yamas + niyamas were pared down to single (or hyphenated) word definitions. This is great for starting to understand the 8 Limbed Yoga Path, but for more fully comprehending this journey, it's important to dive deeper. For me, finding ways in which to apply these concepts into my daily life is most helpful.

I'll be jumping around over the next few months between the yamas + niyamas, and this week I'm taking a look at the niyama: santosha. Comely whittled down to be defined as the observance of contentment and, in many yoga classes I've taken, teachers tend to focus on an attitude of gratitude or just being happy with what you have.

When I was reading about santosha, what actually jumped out at me is FOMO. Yup, fear of missing out. It's an understandable emotion; not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, an event, that one memory that you'll NEVER forget. We can view FOMO as a constant preparation for something or awaiting the next big thing. What happens, though, to us if we're always in this state of waiting or anticipation? I imagine anxiety, loss of breath, failed connection to the present moment. Not only is this hurtful to our individual health, it's actively harmful to our collective health and well being.

I recently found a quote that I feel magnifies this niyama, it's from Oscar Wilde:

There are two kinds of unhappiness. One is not getting what you want. The other is getting what you want.

What happens when plans don't play out as planned, the event becomes a flop, the gift isn't what all you'd hoped - what's your initial reaction? Is it anger, sadness, irritation? What about gratitude for the curveball? The lesson(s) learned from the misstep or poorly attended event?

Leaning in a little closer, I'm challenged to reflect and turn the mirror on myself. Do I exist in the present moment, soaking up all that the moment has to offer? Or do I rush off onto the next moment with the assumption or hope that it will be a "better" or "fulfilling" moment?


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I'm a Nutrition Educator & Wellness Coach based in and serving Washington, DC and the DMV region. My lifestyle-focused method has successfully helped clients achieve personal results and enhance athletic ability, eMpowering performance in class, rehearsals, and on-stage. As professional dancer myself, I have gained nutritional balance and improved my own relationship with food through many years of practice and a Masters of Science in Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. I bring this depth of personal and academic experience to a variety of clients, particularly performance athletes and fitness enthusiasts. In my spare time, I teach yoga and manage Ballet Embody, a professional contemporary ballet company.
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