“Santosha” is the second Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. It teaches us on how to seek contentment within you before you can form any relationship with others. As the saying goes, love yourself before you love others, simply because it is impossible to provide love to someone else if you do not have it within you. As a yoga-practitioner, you need to find santosha on mat when practicing yoga asanas. Normally in a yoga studio, how often do you peek on others in a midst of a pose, whether their asana position is worse or better than ours? I am pretty sure you all have been there and done that. It is neither surprising nor wrong if you put the energy to good use. However, it is the latter situation that got us pumped up a little and if it makes you feel challenged, take it in the good way and take this energy to further improve yourselves.
Practice yoga to go further but at the same time, go by your own pace. Do not force yourself till you get hurt physically as yoga is not all about getting into the final pose as quickly as possible but yoga is more of the journey towards performing the pose with right alignments. Also, it is the journey that makes each pose worthwhile. Thus, as a yogi, avoid comparing yourself with others. This applies as well to material things on the outside world. If you constantly feel you are never good enough, you will always end up feeling as if you are lacking of something, (ie: not skinny enough, not tall enough, not attractive enough and so on). Taking a breather and transforming the negative energy can change how you feel about yourself. If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. It is when you free yourself from desires; you will know serenity and freedom which leads to contentment.
[Vivien Phang of 200 Hr Hatha Vinyasa YTTC]