Santosha is the second niyama (“virtue”) described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It denotes contentment and a lack of desire for what others have. The term is derived from the Sanskrit sam, meaning “completely” or “altogether,” and tosha, meaning “contentment” or “acceptance.” Altogether, it may be translated as “complete contentment.”

It is one of the key components to success on the path of self-realisation. It is the prerequisite to experiencing peace.

“As the result of contentment, one gains supreme happiness.” (Yoga Sutra 2.42)

This sutra clearly states that in order to attain happiness in all situations in life, one needs to follow the niyama of Santosha and become fully established in it. This level of unalloyed, object-less pleasure may be termed ‘spiritual pleasure’ as it finally brings us close to our true nature.

TKV Desikachar describes the meaning of Santosha as accepting what happens. Simply accepting whatever life offers you and learning from it. It is also accepting ourselves just as we are.

“Contentment is serenity, but not complacency. It is comfort, but not submission; reconciliation, not apathy; acknowledgment, not aloofness. Contentment is a mental decision, a moral choice, a practiced observance, a step into the reality of the cosmos. Contentment/santosha is the natural state of our humanness and our divinity and allows for our creativity and love to emerge. It is knowing our place in the universe at every moment. It is unity with the largest, most abiding, reality.”