Sthira and Sukha: Steadiness and Ease
In my recent yoga workshop at Pure Health ‘It’s all about balance’ I talked about Sthira and Sukha.
From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2.26) asana (physical practice of yoga) must have dual qualities of alertness and relaxation. Asana practice involves body exercises. When they are properly practiced there must be alertness without tension and relaxation without dullness or heaviness.
Sthira is more than just firm, it is stable, resolute, changeless, but not only of challenge or strength, it is the ability to stay present and pay attention, the physical and mental stillness, fully engaged body and focused mind.
Sukha as pleasurable, joyful, agreeable, easy, happy and relaxed. It is the opposite of discomfort, suffering or pain (duhkha). Non-violence and self acceptance. Nurture yourself, do something that feels good.
Balancing polarities between tension and relaxation
It is attention without tension, loosening up without slackness
Moving though life with steadiness (Sthira) and ease (Sukha)
We practice yoga to feel these qualities over and over again and to remind ourselves of Sthira and Sukha. When we advance in our practice and maybe go deeper into more challenging postures, it is important that we don’t loose the connection to our breath and the connection to our body, that we don’t get caught up in trying desperately to go into something we are not yet prepared and we might hurt ourselves, but rather enjoy the moment and the process and just be were we are at that moment. We feel steady, supported and enjoy the moment.
So, when we practice yoga we learn how to deal with our day to day life situations. We will be able to apply the qualities of Sthira to feel steady, supported and strong no matter the circumstances. At the same time we feel the joy and beauty in life, Sukha.
We learn the ability to stay present and pay attention to each moment as it comes.
As life goes crazy we tend to forget about Sthira and Sukha, so practice yoga and come back to state of steadiness and ease!