Sober Yoga Girl

Samtosha: The Practice of Contentment with Kirsten Hutchinson

November 09, 2023 Alex McRobert
Sober Yoga Girl
Samtosha: The Practice of Contentment with Kirsten Hutchinson
Show Notes Transcript

In these weekly lives in the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook Group, Alex and Kristen discuss what it means to live yoga. In today's conversation they discuss Samtosha, or the practice of contentment. What does it mean to feel contentment in the moment? What does it mean to practice joy even when times are challenging?
Alex and Kristen do these lives every week on Mondays at 7am EST in the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook group. Join the group on Facebook to listen to the conversations live: 

Hi, friend. This is Alex McRobs, founder of The Mindful Life Practice, and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23, and I never went back. I got sober in 2019, and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga and change their lives through my online Sober Girls Yoga community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.

Hello. Hi, everyone. And welcome back to our I feel like we host a talk show or something. The Monday Night Show.

Our Monday morning show.

With Alex and Kristen. So we go live every Monday at this time to chat about yoga philosophy. And we're making our way through different yoga philosophy concepts. So we covered the yamas, which are... It's the moral commitments or the ethical commitments. And then we're in the niyamas right now, which are the personal commitments of yoga. So how are you doing, Kristen, on this Monday?

I'm doing well. Oh, hi, Princess. I was just saying to Alks. I took the weekend to just rest and reset, which was just nice. I did a lot of house stuff, but yeah, ready for the week and excited to be here and chat about this. I really love this topic today.

It's a good one. It's a good one. I had a similar weekend, I must say. I really didn't do much. I was pretty tired. I had a yoga teacher training group leave and a new retreat come in. I actually was so tired that I felt like I couldn't even watch a movie. I just felt like I just had to sit and literally do nothing.

I did that for a few hours on Sunday. It was good. It was good. I can so relate to that. I tried to watch a movie, but just fell asleep on couch. You must have So for.

Anyone that's jumping on and joining us live, if you just want to let us know where you are in the world and what you're up to. Our topic today is Samtosha. And Samtosha is pretty much about contentment. And when I was brainstorming or doing a little bit of Googling into Samtosha, what does Samtosha mean? How do we practice it? I came across and was thinking a lot about practicing gratitude. And I was thinking maybe if you were into it, we could kick this off with, What are some things you're grateful for today.

Yeah, I love that. Absolutely. What am I? Oh, man, I have so much. Okay. On a personal, like home front level, I go down to simple, basic stuff like I'm super grateful that I have a home. I have shelter and a roof over my head. I have food on the table. I have a loving family. And I am here today. That's one thing or a few things that I'm grateful for. And then I expand that out. Then I'm grateful for this community. I'm grateful for the friendships that I have in my life. I'm grateful for my pet. I'm grateful for work colleagues and that thing. And that if you expand that out more, I go like I'm grateful for the planet, Mother Earth, et cetera. I think I can take it on multiple levels. How about you? Love it.

I love that. Man, I'm grateful to have a rope over my head, too. I've been thinking about that because I've had so many housing issues during my time in Bali, but I've always had a home. No matter where that home is, I've always had a roof over my head and food to eat. Man, I'm so lucky to have nutritious food to eat. My cat came to come on my lap as I started doing this call. I'm super grateful for my cat because she's been a constant for the past two years. Yeah, my community, my friendships, a lot of things to be grateful for.

I love that practice. It's just such a beautiful, grounding way to go into your day and to also close out your day. Just taking a few seconds to write down a couple of things that you're grateful for at the.

Beginning and the end. I need to be more consistent about it.

Me too.

Because it feels really good. That felt really good, just talking about those things, but I'm not very good about following through.

I can relate to that. It's funny. I took the journal template that you, I think, shared with the community and I was really good about doing it for a few days, but I think it can slip as life gets busy. But it's a really beautiful thing just to come back to and ground yourself in.

Leanne says, Good morning. Leanne is popping on for a few minutes before her yoga. Amazing. Good to have you here.


Morning. What does Samtosha mean to you and what are your practices around Samtosha?

This has been a really big focus as I was researching it, I realized just how much I was focusing on this without realizing it. Because throughout the years, I often had the mindset of I will be happy when, and then fill in the blank with whatever, whether that was buy my house, not get a partner, but have a healthy partner, have that new blank, whether it's a materialistic thing or whatever it is, or once I make X amount of money a year, whatever it was, you can fill in the blank with anything. I think wanting to grow and expand yourself is a beautiful thing, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I think for me, it was when it was starting to become unhealthy, like when I was basing my entire sense of self around those things. That being, When I will be happy, when I will feel peace, but then you get those things and that feeling that you're trying to run from or heal and think like, Oh, this will be the thing that does it. It doesn't. Then you're just fixating that onto the next thing. I think for me, that was a huge one because when I got this house, it'll be five years in November, I was like, Okay, I'm finally going to be happy.

This is going to be the thing. It had been just a couple of months since I lost my dad, and I thought this would be the thing that would heal me. It was actually the thing that spiraled me and threw me full tilt into my feelings of grief and navigating that because a move can really just disrupt our energy, our comfort like you're taken out of anything, and it can really trigger a lot. It was an awakening for me that my happiness isn't in those objects. You have to create and cultivate the contentment and the happiness within yourself. I think what we just did by opening with what are we grateful for, it brings you back into yourself, into the moment, and there will be that you're like, I need to let go of this because it's not serving me, but I'm grateful for this. So that was a huge way of practicing it for me is letting go of that whole notion of I'll be happy when.

Yeah. And I love that you brought that up because this was one of my biggest things throughout my life too. I'll be happy when I get to university. I'll be happy when I move away to school. I'll be happy when it's vacation, whatever. And what I found is it's almost like I hit... Especially when I started to hit milestones with my business, I kept thinking this would make me happy. I'll be happy when I move to Bali. I'll be happy when I'm making this much money. And what I found within myself is the bar is always being raised higher. And it's so easy for me to just get discontented and run. I have this dream job right now at this yoga school. I'll give you this example. And at the sign of a few conflicts with people, I was like, I'm quitting. I'm leaving. It's after two months. And it's just such an example of like, okay, this is obviously something that I need to work on within me. And this is why this is showing up. And the bar doesn't need to be any higher, it's high enough. And I need to just focus on finding joy with exactly where I'm at and where I found myself.

Yeah, absolutely. I suspect a lot of people can resonate with this notion. And I think if we expand it a little bit more too, is sometimes it's not even like those objects of when we get the job or whatever, but sometimes we have this habit of having this never ending list of things that we want to make better about ourselves and then we'll be happy when we get that. So whether it's a chief headstand or a chief handstand or change our appearance or have different habits, et cetera, we can get into a really unhealthy space with that list. And so the truth is we're perfect and whole as we are. Are there things that we can work on? Maybe it's diving deeper into our spiritual practice or there's no harm and there's nothing wrong with wanting to eat, nourishing foods, care for your body. That's beautiful if you choose to do that, but it's not having that lens of harm on yourself and less than with yourself. I think it's just like coming into, again, a space of just appreciating yourself, loving yourself, and being the best you that you can be that feels good and true to you without trying to change who you are and just being content with all that you are.

So many of us are like, all we see is our flaws. I'm going to call them from that perspective. If you had your flaws that you felt, it would be like how would... If you could shift your thinking into like, How does Kristen see me, for example. I don't see any of those flaws. Just like you looking at me, you don't see what I'm beating myself up over. If we can just shift to out of that flaw mentality and just looking at yourself with pure love, I think it can just really elevate us and let go of some of that harmful thinking.

What practices do you use that help you get into that.

Mind state? It's a work in progress. I think some really good ways that I can get just into my body is by movement. I've been saying lately, I feel like movement is medicine for me. And so I think whatever it is, whether it's yoga, whether it's going to the gym and doing a workout, just getting into your body is a really beautiful way to work on this. And as well as just living in the present moment, if you're noticing that your thoughts are going down that route, just bring yourself back and maybe it's doing the five senses like, What are things that I see, hear, smell? Again, rooting yourself back into the body. So as much as we can come back into ourselves, I have found that that's been really helpful of just getting me out of that spiral of thoughts because once you have that one thought, you can quickly go down that rabbit hole. Maybe it's even writing down five things, three things, one thing, whatever it is that you love about yourself. What is it that I love about me? And then just expand that list, come back to that list and just really cultivate that contentment, which is Santosh in yourself.

Yeah, I love that. I love that. These are so many great examples. And it's so funny how it feels like the solution. I feel like we talk about a lot of these things and a lot of the answers. We're like, okay, what practices can we do for these to help us with these yamas and niyamas? And so often it comes back to the same things. It's like movement, it's like eating well, it's meditation, being part of community. All of these things are going to help us be more nonviolent and be honest with ourselves and tell the truth and then practice contentment. And all of these things work together so holistically.

Absolutely. Yeah. I love talking about these things because I think you can... They're so woven together. I think the ultimate to what you literally just said, the ultimate is getting into your body and some of these things will come. It's not how do you practice? Because if you're thinking about all the yamas, all the niamas, it can feel maybe overwhelming of like, How do I practice all of them? But I think as you just get into your body, they start to just come naturally. It's not like I got to practice this and this and this. It's just let's get grounded and it just comes to us.

Yeah, so true. All right, I'm going to share some practices and journal prompts. Let me just pull them up to share these every week with us. So, Santoshia contentment. Some practices for Santosha. So we did this at the beginning, but practicing gratitude, remaining in the state, a strong daily meditation practice, trying to appreciate what you have in the now and accept where you are. So instead of constantly looking forward, just being in the present, just trying to be accepting of whatever scenario you're in, whether you like something or dislike it, just avoiding that thinking of like, Oh, I like this. I dislike this, or I love this. I hate this, or whatever. And I think a big one is about giving other people power over our emotions. So letting other people shape our emotions and starting to understand that that's something within us that we can start to control over. I love that. And I think the best journal prompt is what we were talking about earlier, which is just daily gratitude practice. And I think it would be great. Maybe that's something we could do this week is like, I can set up some daily gratitude prompts for our Facebook group.

I think that would be a really good practice for this. Yeah.

No, absolutely. I love that idea. One thing I think I'm going to also start doing this week is just take two minutes, place your hands over your heart space and just feel and say to yourself like, this is me, this is home. This is where I will find contentment. Maybe just repeating those affirmations as you feel your heart beating under your hand, that's a really beautiful way to just connect inward.

Love it. Beautiful. Are there any other thoughts you want to wrap up on or things you want to share?

I think those were the main ones.

Amazing. I love getting together on Mondays and chatting all things yoga philosophy with you, with everyone in the group. So we'll be back next week to talk about Top Us, which is discipline or commitment. And if anyone watching this is curious to get more involved in our community, do a live program with me and Kristen. We have two different programs that we run. We have a Sober Girls Yoga 30-Day Challenge, which is starting very soon, October first. If you want to do Sober October and kick that off with us, we would love that. And then also the 200-hour yoga teacher training and we're going to have a new cohort starting later in October. So DM us if you have any questions and we will see you soon.

Awesome. See you soon.

Hi, friend. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here, so thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life, please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.