Monday, August 31, 2009

Sthiram and Sukham: Stediness and Ease

Of the 196 versus in the Yoga Sutras, there are only two which speak uniquely about the quality of our asanas, our yoga poses. The Yoga Sturas summarily advise asana to be negotiated with the skillful balance of , Sthiram and Sukham, stediness and ease. In our asana practice, if we do too much too quickly, our body will stiffen and resist the movement or release and we will likely injure ourselves, If we don't do enough, we get bored--we don't feel the exhilaration and joy of moving and approprately challenging our body.

Each pose, and even our practice as a whole, should be balanced between these two qualities of Sukaham and Sthiram. When we get the balance just right, something magical happens: suddenly, everything feels amazing and the pose comes alive! At that moment, you feel like you are the center of the universe and that you could stay in that position for the rest of time. For a moment everything makes sense. And to a samll degree we are able to tast that allusive True Self we are searching for in yoga practice. One may go for months or years without ever experiencing this feeling but as we continue to practice regularly and negotiate Sthiram and Sukham, sooner or later, you too will have this experience. As we become more skillful in our practice, we will find it easier and easier to get into this perfect balance of Sthiram and Sukahm.

Our yoga practice is the mirror of our lives. So, when we then apply this teaching of balancing Sthiram and Sukham to our practice of every-day living, we feel how the effects of balanced living affect our experience at home, the office, kids, and our relationships, including the vital relationship with ourselves. Just like in our yoga practice, things will come alive. And just like our yoga practice everything will make sense.

This week in practice, I'd like to find a fun sequence of poses where we can use our power of negotiation to find a test our perfect balance, looking for that "yoga glow" you get when everything feels right. Then, once our bodies are warm, let's do some long, slow, and deep muscle releases that will help us seek for balance in a different way. I hope we can all walk out of class feeling balanced between body, mind, and spirit with the desire to apply this same balance to all of the other aspects of living.

I'll see you in class.

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