Teachings of Yoga: Balancing Discipline and Contentment

Yoga is an ancient system of physical, psychological and spiritual well-being. It is a philosophy that includes not only techniques for physical fitness, but also those for calming the mind and leading a better quality of life. Discipline (Tapas) and contentment (Santosha) are two very important teachings of Yoga and is incorporated in all the various forms of Yoga. They are a part of the teachings of yoga that lay the foundation for it. They create the basis for a lot of the Asana (Posture) and Pranayama (Breathing) practices which are a part of Yoga. They give direction to the ultimate goal that an individual aspires to reach with these practices.

Teachings of Yoga

Discipline (Tapas)
It means not only discipline and following it in every walk of life, but also being focused on the higher ultimate goal of life. Having a fierce attitude to achieve this higher goal is part of following Tapas, while doing away with distractions and keeping ego out of the way. It keeps motivating the individual to keep going despite obstacles in the way.

However, one has to be careful following this teaching. This is because the fierceness to reach the goal might eventually burn out the individual if he/she is not careful. This is where the second teaching, contentment, comes into the picture.

Contentment (Santosha)
It is the ability to be satisfied and happy despite the obstacles in the path of reaching the goal. It talks about being happy in the current state without being too pushy for the goal or controlling the ego. Santosha is the ability to accept the present as it is which would enable clarity of the present situation.

A balance between Tapas and Santosha
One has to learn to balance these two teachings of yoga so as to make life better. One needs to be fierce and spirited in pursuing goals but has to be content with the present circumstances as well. One must not forget the joys of the present in pursuit of the future. While staying focused on the bigger goal, one must be able to be happy in the present. This would give better clarity of immediate goals that would eventually lead to the achievement of that bigger goal.

Contentment makes the individual patient to go one step at a time spiritedly and with discipline. It motivates the individual to be persistent while not going overboard with fierceness. These teachings of yoga give the individual a fine balance between persistence and patience.

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