The Yogic Lifestyle: Simple, Conscious and Eco-Friendly
Yoga philosophy encourages a conscious and eco-friendly way of living, a mindset of caring about the world around you. There’s a few basic principles, called the yamas and niyamas, forming the foundation of the eight limbs of yoga. If you apply these basic principles, you will see that a conscious lifestyle follows naturally. Let’s zoom in to one of these principles: santosha or contentment.
Contentment basically means being happy with what you have, without desiring more. If you think about what you have, you may have the tendency to dream about something better. You have a nice home, but maybe you also want a garden. You may have a basic wardrobe, but you may want to be fashionable and buy new items every season. You may have a perfectly fine yoga mat, but when you see someone else’s amazing mat with even more grip or softness, you might want that too.
In other words, there is always something that could be better compared to what you have now.
However, if you stop and think consciously, do you really need it?
Could you survive without it?
Those two questions can be helpful when you make decisions in daily life, and actually make you feel a lot happier with what you have. It makes me personally feel grateful; I don’t need much, I have everything to live my life and already more than that.
Do I need a bigger home? No, I have enough space to live. Do a need the latest phone? No, I can still stay in touch with people and look up information if I need to if I use my good old phone.
The principle of contentment helps me filtering what is important to focus on in life. It brings me back to basics: what do I need to feel happy?
The answer usually lies in things that are already there, such as valuable friendships, a safe home and a meaningful job. So being content with what you have has a positive effect on your own feeling of happiness.
What’s more, it is better for the world around you – if you feel you have enough, you won’t desire more, so you will reduce your consumption.
A decrease in consumption means a lower impact on the environment. If we buy less, there is a lower need for materials to produce clothes, electronics or books. And if we use the things we already have for a longer time, we produce less waste.
The result: less exhaustion of the soil to grow cotton or keep cattle, no deforestation for the land needed to produce the raw materials, and a cleaner ocean. In other words, we’re reducing our environmental footprint when we realise that we don’t need more than what we already have.
The most important lesson of the principle of contentment is that being happy with what you have makes you feel fulfilled with a simple lifestyle, and at the same time helps contribute to a sustainable world!
Conscious Contributor: Lana Donse
As a yoga teacher and psychologist, Lana’s aim is to guide people through the process of finding harmony and freedom in their lives. She believes that yoga can help to broaden your mind, strengthen your body and deepen your experiences.
Lana started yoga in her teenage years, initially as a physical practice that she felt made her move with more awareness in her body. Gradually, she discovered that yoga also affected her on a mental level. She learned about yoga philosophy when she travelled in India and Nepal, which opened up a whole new world for her. Yoga has become a way of living in which she can find balance, love and freedom. She hopes to share the wisdom of yoga with the community in the classes she teaches and the blogs she writes.