2:46 Sthira Sukham Asanam – The seat of the yogi is steady and joyful.
In this Yoga Sutra, we are told that our connection to the Earth should be steady and joyful. Sthira means steady or stable; sukham means joyful, centred; asana is the seat or connection to the Earth. It is the term used to describe the physical yoga practice of taking different shapes with the body, but can also can be taken in the broader sense of our interactions with the planet itself and all the beings we share it with.
What I resonate with in this sutra is that we have an opportunity to take our yoga off of the mat and into the world. When we can truly feel the light within us, we can share this in our home, in our work, with our students, with our soul partners, with the earth and the universe. What a wonderful gift this is.
I truly belive that we are each responsible for building the kind of earth we want to see through our actions. If we can take time out of each day to plug back in to nature, to the present moment and conscious awareness, we will be in a better position to carry that consciousness over into our lives and create a more stable and joyful connection to the earth. To take our roles fully as healers and light workers.
As yogis, and especially as human beings on this spiritual path, if we have any hope of not just surviving on this planet, but thriving, we need to find ways to reconnect what is broken in us. To dismantle the ego-system we have built and take our place in the eco-system. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in our culture and I believe it is due to our desire to reconnect, to awaken and become conscious, to begin to build a more mutually beneficial relationship to the earth. To begin to learn through our bodies and the ground beneath our feet how to give and in so doing, receive. We take the shapes of birds, lizards, snakes, trees, mountains and take the time to pause and be present and build our consciousness.
Mentally and emotionally, the balance between effort and ease can be cultivated by meditation and contemplating the infinite potential of the connection between ‘self’ and ‘source.’ According to Patanjali, to perfect an asana, we are meant to find stillness and to quiet the body enough to turn our attention toward the mind and the senses. When we are able to hold an asana comfortably, we unite the mind-body dualism; the results are that our physical limitations dissolve, our mental and emotional focus centers and our energy expands and fills the space around us.
Physically, we seek the perfect combination of firm and soft that occurs in the body while being still and steady, yet active in a pose, feeling as if one could hold a pose forever, with very little effort, simply by breathing. The Sutra also invokes the need to be aware of what is felt as “good” and “bad” pain in the body, and cultivate an ability to work the edge of each asana without competing or pushing oneself into injury.
When we start to practice effortless attitude, we gain that super ninja-like practice. So strong, yet filled with lightness. Yoga is not easy and certainly not comfortable, yet our job is to dig in deep and create ease. Perfecting posture for meditation comes not so much by doing but of not doing. Surely we have to put some effort into training the body to sit straight and be aligned. However, after that is accomplished, the next step is to learn to do nothing, allowing the posture to settle in for meditation. It is an active form of doing nothing, of consciously ceasing to place any effort into the posture. This conscious effort to release any form of effort can be felt experientially and internally. You can start to know for yourself that this really is a valid, useful, and key principle in developing a sitting posture for meditation and a standing posture for action.
Through our Sadhana, which means conscious spiritual practice, we become better humans. Our practice can range from preparing a delicious, healthy, whole meal, or it could be a daily asana or meditation practice, to perhaps a daily prayer to the Divine. Success in yoga always comes to the person who practices.
To experience this sitting practice, join Bee at Exhale Spa NYC on June 26th to investigate the power of meditation. Sign up at www.beebosnak.com/workshops
Photo by Ashley Streff