Santosha anuttamah sukha labhah – an attitude of contentment
Santosha is the practice of enjoying each moment as it is, being content with who you are and what you have at this current moment. Right now. No matter what has happened yesterday or what will happen, you are content. The practice of this mindset will allow you to lose greed and you do not need anything more. We do not seek contentment or happiness from external sources, only from within.
This practice of contentment has fallen in and out of my life many times. In great times of my life, where I am alone and in tuned with myself, I am able to appreciate every bit that I am, and every bit around me. However, as soon as life moves a little more fast-paced, I forget to be content. Although I chase dreams fast and hard on one hand, one the other, I tend to let anxiety back into my life, self-doubt and comparisons. It is definitely always hard to be content, being raised in a society that is academically-oriented and filled with a large talent pool. We tend to start comparing ourselves to others in terms of many aspects, be it academics, money, status, social status, fitness, talents, love, friendship, etc. The list never ends. I have seen far too many peers of my age constantly worry about something in their lives, and do not focus on the bigger picture – to realize that they can hardly ever be content without understanding this sutra. Human nature introduces greed to us, and we need to understand that for most, enough is never actually enough.
In yoga, some days our bodies do not perform as well as we want it to. Maybe, we feel a little weak in our Chaturanga, a little unstable in our downward dog. Maybe our regular beautiful postures are not turning out right, or maybe lifting ourselves to stay in crow or headstand isn’t happening. But it is what it is. We aren’t perfect bodies and we have up and down days, just like in our lives. So I constantly try my best to keep reminding myself – do what your body feels good in. Don’t hurt yourself to force for a backbend, because then you will be discontent with the fact that you have injured yourself. Take what you have and make the best of it. Still on my way to practicing contentment, but as all practices require – time!