(Saṃtoṣa): “Contentment,” or “unconditional joy,” is the second niyama (moral discipline) in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. To be firmly rooted in santosha is to feel genuine happiness no matter what arises in the sphere of our being. It is to be accepting and to trust that we always receive what we need, whether it is labeled as “good” or “bad.” To practice contentment is to practice a constant awareness of the present moment, where the mind is free from desires and fears about the future as well as pain and regrets about the past. Cultivating santosha allows us to let go of the desires that trap us in ignorance and suffering. A feeling of completeness then arises and we learn to be happy in this moment, with whatever we have and however we are. Only a mind free of desiring, free from thoughts of past and future, can concentrate. Thus, in practicing santosha we naturally improve in our practice of Hatha Yoga and meditation. A state of equanimity arises and labels such as “good” and “bad” that may be applied to experiences are seen as mere judgments of the mind. Read more about the niyama here.