Sthira Sukham – Ease and Steadiness
by Julee Yew-Crijns
sthira (strong, steady, stable) sukham (comfortable, easeful, joyful) asanam (asana, posture)
The practice of yoga should be steady, stable as well as comfortable
-Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.46
I remember a time when not much of my practice was sthira or sukham! When I first stepped onto a yoga mat, I could barely sit upright, and my ego and competitiveness would just push and push and push. I think sukham was missing for many years of it. I loved it even then, in all its un-sukham-ness! But wow! Once it had found me, how incredible did it feel?
It took some time for me to realise that this practice is a journey of un-determined, if not indefinite, time. So it is expected that it will take time to find sthira, sukham. I notice often how frustrated people get with themselves and even how discouraged they become when they try a pose and fall, or wobble or just did not get it. I have been there myself. When I demonstrate* poses in class sometimes and maybe it looks so sthira and sukham, I hope they hear my words that it took years to get here and many years to come in transforming my yoga practice- in my body and in my mind. And really…not finding this (sthira, sukham) right away is a great gift of the practice. When the body is wobbly, the mind becomes so much more focused and starts to understand that the sthira sukham – ease and steadiness actually starts from within, not from the physical body, from from deep inside.
* This is also why I hardly demonstrate in class unless necessary.
I hope it does not come across as laziness hahaha.
So anyway… never be discouraged. If the person next to you is stable as a statue, remember that they too once flapped their arms, fell on their faces and their bottoms and struggled with all the internal dialogue, and that one day, you will also get there, to a place that feels sthira and sukham.
Enjoy your journey!