Sutra II.46: Sthira sukham asanam

Posted in Lessons from the Mat

sthira = steady, stable, motionless, sukham = comfortable, ease filled, asanam = seat, posture, connection to this Earth

This particular Patanjali’s sutra is an easy favorite of many yogis, myself included, as it encourages comfort and ease on a  yoga journey that can be sometimes challenging. This sutra, however, teaches us that one (sukham) is not better than the other (sthira), but rather our connection to the earth (asanam) resembles a dance, even a balancing act, between the two.

In asana class, a common tendency I’ve seen (and even succumbed to on occasion) is wanting – wanting to be more flexible, strong, zen, graceful, etc. In this wanting there comes an excess of sthira, resulting in a forcing and hardening of the body, mind, and heart. This is where a little more sukham is needed, and the dancing balancing act begins. When I feel my jaw clenched, toes gripped, and eyebrows furrowed, it is a reminder for me to go to my heart center where life is lived according to feeling. In doing so I instantly begin to soften into who I already am and to what I already have.

“If I’m losing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga.” – T. Guillemets