s t h i r a – s u k h a m a s a n a m
“Posture (asana) should be stable (sthira) and comfortable (sukha)” ~ The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
This Sutra can be applied directly to our choice of asana practice, our experience during our asana practice as well as how we connect to our living-world. Refining our ability to create this balance between effort (sthira) and ease (sukham) takes time and practice.
Recently I have been reminding students to ‘find your sweet’, in each pose there is an element of softness to send your thoughts to. For example, in downward facing dog the back of the neck is kept soft, in Warrior 1,2,3 the shoulders are released down the back of the spine and in the splits the hips are released. A softness can even be found in the belly when the inner core is at work, not every point of the belly needs to look rock solid.
I was reminded about finding sweetness during a recent trip in Bali where I saw the Hindu God Ganesha, most commonly known as the remover of obstacles, around every corner. The most striking and differentiating feature of Ganesha is his trunk and for an elephant the trunk gives easy access to many things. In Lord Ganesh the trunk is towards his left side accessing a laddu (a sweet ball). He reminds us to access the fruit of our work in the material world. In other words laddu indicates all material comforts, since he enjoys the sweet!
So when you’re next in a powerful pose, practising on or off your mat, keep it sweet, work from the top down and use the breath to guide you through it. It is not uncommon to reach for fear instead of calm, to feel overwhelmed instead of using what you have to settle the mind. When you next see a statue of Ganesh during your practice let that be a reminder that there is always sweetness to be found.
Y O U R Y O G A F R I E N D