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Contentment (santosha) is one of the five niyamas in yoga. How does one actively practice contentment? Is it through meditation on certain feelings or something else? The other niyamas (cleanliness, austerity, self-study, prayer) seem more obvious in terms of what actions to do. Contentment almost seems like the opposite of actions. With contentment, what everyday actions does one take to practice this part of yoga?

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    The way I interpret contentment means 'Stop Complaining'. There are many things in life that we always feel 'Why did we get this, why not that'. Instead of thinking like that we can think 'Thank God I have got this. I will use this to the benefit of society'. That is contentment. However Absolute Contentment is the one of the goal of Yoga. Upon absolute contentment, one is infinitely happy where He is. He has no desires, no wants, and no sorrows. He is in other words, Liberated. Thus one can view contentment from two levels. Contentment as the Goal Vs contentment as a day-to-day practice. – Sai Oct 9 '15 at 16:46
  • Santosha = 1 / RajoGuna. Good question; to me even other 4 also don't look obvious, especially prayer. – iammilind Oct 9 '15 at 16:48
  • It can be attained only by truly believing that what we have is good, necessary and sufficient. This belief can only be obtained through nitya - anitya vastu vivechana, I think. This is the intellectual approach. Usually, a sense of serenity is attained experientially by introspecting and studying one's experiences, reactions and consequences. There is an element of the rational in this approach also but it can be more prolonged as it is reactive in nature. Please read up on sadhana chatushtayam – user1195 Oct 17 '15 at 10:58
  • There is yoga mudra, called Santosh Mudra, which is very simple, but I don't know in which exactly book it is explain. To perform that mudra you have to raise the corners of the mouth, until you feel it in your cheeks (yes, is a smile, but performed in this exactly way). You have to feel the cheeks, a little effort, but not to much pain. There are some marmas (confluence of nadhis), and you are stimulating that. Then you have to keep it like that at least 3 minuts. It should go acompanied with Santosh Bhav (effort to feel Santosh). – Indra Feb 10 '18 at 15:13
  • If you can practices like this evey day one afeter another, just some minuts each, for at least 3 fortnights, then you start to get in Santosh mood more easy and confortable. If can keep like this until 6 fortnights, you are natural in Santosh – Indra Feb 10 '18 at 15:13
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As answer to your question, below is an excerpt from Yoga-Vasistha (Discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama to explain the illusory nature of the manifest world and the principle of non-duality). The sage told about four gate-keepers to the realm of freedom. The four gate-keepers are Santi (self-control or quietness of mind), Vichara (spirit of inquiry), Santosha (contentment) and Satsanga (good company). Here (search page 6) are the words of Sri Vasistha about Santosha (contentment):

What is contentment? To renounce all craving for what is not obtained unsought and to be satisfied with what comes unsought, without being elated or depressed even by them — this is contentment. As long as one is not satisfied in the self, he will be subjected to sorrow. With the rise of contentment the purity of one’s heart blooms. The contented man who possesses nothing owns the world.

Therefore, it is renunciation of powerful desire on one hand and satisfaction with what we have on the other that forms the practice of contentment.

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