Joy to the World – Santosha and the Holidays

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The holidays are here again. It’s my favorite time of year to spend time with the people I love, and celebrate the spirit of giving. It’s also a time of year when I remember the people and animals that are no longer with me. In that space of reflection and rejoicing, it’s important to give myself mental and emotional space to remember what gives my life meaning and ultimately brings joy to my life.

In the sparkle of the season, we may feel pressured to over-give with our time and finances, and under-give to our personal needs. We may need extra time for our yoga practice, meditation, and to honor any feelings that may come up. The shadow side of the season is that past wounds and sadness can be heightened, and it’s important to remember that we are never alone. If we take space to carve out time for a yoga class, it helps create community and perhaps a shift in perspective of what truly matters in life. We want to keep our spark alive and our life force strong so we can cultivate joy and share it with the world authentically.

As yogis we practice and cultivate Santosha, which is defined in the yoga sutras as contentment. “Through contentment, supreme joy is gained.” When we find contentment with our life as it is, we free ourselves up from cravings and attachments to objects and things we cannot change. This doesn’t mean we don’t strive to shift circumstances that are not serving us. We learn to recognize whatever is asking us to face our belief systems, interpretations, and values so we can find joy in the expansion of our personal growth – even if it is challenging. I’ve found that some of the most confronting choices in my life have churned up the metaphorical soil I stand in, so I can question if this is a place I want to source from. Santosha and the practice of threading joy through life’s ups and downs, helps me remember what matters most in life: love and connection.

One of the greatest illusions in life is that happiness is found outside of ourselves, through objects, money, people, external bids for power. In the thirst for fulfillment it can keep us hungry for more, but never quite satiated. If we allow time and reflection on what really feeds us through our yoga and meditation practice, then we can show up and feast on the banquet of life. The power of joy is that it helps us discern what experiences in life will fulfill us and nourish our soul.

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, give time and space to your Self. Even if you’re traveling or too busy to make it to the studio, you can always catch a great yoga class with me online on MyYogaWorks.com! Remember to honor where you are in your life, even if it means confronting that there’s a reason. The universe presents us with challenges so we can grow and expand to our fullest potential. For me, finding joy in all of these experiences has strengthened my inner light and it’s been an opportunity to cultivate Santosha. Let the light of the season feed your inner joy so you can bring that joy to the world.

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unnamed-3Mia Togo grew up in the small town of Murrieta, Ca. She was an avid equestrian and dancer, both of which helped pave the way to her love and devotion of yoga. It was in the practice of Vinyasa yoga that she began to feel her body as a temple for healing rather than struggle. She studied with many teachers, finding wisdom from different styles and philosophies. With much respect for all forms of yoga, her passion is Vinyasa. She has been a Yogaworks certified teacher and teacher trainer since 2004. She is also a mentor for the 300-hour program at Yogaworks. Mia teaches with an emphasis on detailed alignment so there is an intelligence and a purpose to her sequencing. To learn more about Mia, visit her website, follow her on Facebook and twitter @miatogo.

You can practice yoga with Mia Togo at YogaWorks, or with her online yoga classes on MyYogaWorks.com

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