Sthira & Sukkha

Trikonasana

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras we are advised to seek Sthira and Sukkha, or steadiness and comfort, in all aspects of our lives.

In Asana practice, you might notice yourself feeling tense and irritated in a challenging pose that you have yet to master, wondering when the instructor will “set you free” and get on to the next pose.

This physical and emotional response actually makes the pose far more difficult while decreasing its benefits.  But if we seek to become steady and grounded despite the challenge, and then cultivate a sense of acceptance, relaxation and comfort in the pose, we create the opportunity for a major shift.

One of the many wonderful aspects of Asana practice is that it is a metaphor for life. As we gain strength and flexibility in our bodies, we find that we can bring this progress to our daily experience of the world. We have more power to deal with the demands of our day, and more flexibility to handle the pressures, disappointments and setbacks that might come our way. As we master a difficult pose that we once thought impossible for us, we come to see that we have a greater capacity to move forward in our professional, personal and spiritual lives than we once believed.

This is bringing Yoga up off our mats and into our daily lives. Through Sthira and Sukkha, we are able to act skillfully in trying times, with clarity, wisdom and grace.  Instead of reacting to challenges with fear, anger or frustration, we can find steadiness and then seek comfort, even in the greatest of maelstroms.

I invite you to practice Sthira and Sukkha in these simple ways:

  • When challenges arise, stay in your center and avoid instant emotional reaction.
  • Instead of feeling anxious about difficulties, cultivate a sense of acceptance and relaxation.

~~~

About Bhava Ram

Bhava Ram (bhavaram.com) is a former NBC Foreign Correspondent who healed from a broken back and diagnosis of terminal cancer through the sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda. His memoir, Warrior Pose, How Yoga Literally Saved My Life, details this healing journey and is scheduled to be a feature film in 2016. Bhava is the co-founder of the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts (deepyoga.com) and is an author, teacher, lecturer, musician and spiritual counselor. He and his wife, Laura Plumb, lead trainings and retreats in California, Europe and India.
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3 Responses to Sthira & Sukkha

  1. Laura Plumb says:

    You are such a great example of this, Ji ~

  2. boyddrums says:

    Wow, I’ve really be working on this lately. I have so much opportunity for this in yoga class (as you may have observed), as well as off the mat. I found that the natural progression is from Sthira and Sukkha to Santosha–the gratitude and appreciation for at last finding the comfort (even if it’s a small piece), which leads naturally to greater and greater Santosha.

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