Santosha – A mantra for balanced progress


Santosha is a Sanskrit term that, loosely translated, means contentment in the moment. When used in the discipline of Yoga, it refers to a point you’ll find while attempting any challenging pose.

Stand up for a moment, trust me, doing this will be a turning point in your life if you get this concept. Gently reach down towards your toes, stretching as far as you can. You will feel your legs straining as the pressure builds and your muscles begin to pull. At this point, if you choose to push yourself much further, you risk injury, yet if you back away from this point of intensity, you’ll never lengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility. This delicate position is called Santosha, the balance between striving and challenging yourself while in the same moment accepting your limitations and being content and grateful with your progress.

When I first heard this concept, it so appealed to me that at the start of 2017 I adopted it as my mantra for the year. There were points in the year that I had to ease off my work challenges, knowing that I’d fall short of my goals, but also realising that it wasn’t worth sacrificing my own wellbeing. I forced myself to recognise my achievements, despite them not reaching my expectations, and am learning to become more compassionate with myself when I don’t quite succeed. I’ve also found myself on a few occasions feeling despondent and way too relaxed to achieve anything at all, and remembering the concept of santosha, found something to strive towards. The funny thing is, it didn’t matter weather it was cleaning out kitchen drawers or editing my new website, just challenging myself gave me inordinate satisfaction and brought back the balance I so craved.

As you walk through your week, stop at various points and ask yourself, “In this moment, am I challenging myself or am I being content?” In our busy lives, many of us, me certainly included, fall into the trap of associating success with achievement. The harder we work, the busier we get and the more challenges we seek out. Unfortunately, the more successful we become the higher we lift our expectations and that leads to living in a constant state of discontent. Happiness doesn’t lie in achievement, it lies in the space between gratitude and contentment and striving and achievement.

I suggest you try to play with this balance in your own business and life, find what works for you and your family, and navigate your way to creating Santosha. It’s a beautiful concept that is serving me well.