“Sthiram sukham asanam” ~~ Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 2.48
Let’s break this sutra down a little bit, shall we?
Sthira (sh-teer-uh) ~ steadiness, strength, steadfast, enduring
Sukha (soo- khuh) ~ ease, comfort, softness, a good feeling
Asanam (ah-sah-nam) ~ pose, seat, a good place
Here, Patanjali is telling us that the good place is in the balance between effort and ease. When you find this place while holding a yoga pose, it becomes dynamic, and alive. This allows prana, or life force energy, to circulate and enliven the whole of your being.
“One of the gifts of yoga, and its sister science Ayurveda, is their ability to engender in us a growing sensitivity to our own prana so that we learn to move through our lives with steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha).” Dr Robert Svoboda
Dr. Svoboda translates this sutra to mean “resolutely abiding in a good place.”
You can find the balance of effort and ease in any yoga pose, and other activities such as running, even walking. There is a good place of applying oneself without creating unnecessary tension, and allowing the breath to be steady and rhythmic. Areas of weakness come online to be strengthened by shtira, and areas of tension release into sukha. The resulting balance makes whatever you are doing more dynamic, effective, and enjoyable.
You can apply this off the mat, and work to find the balance of effort and ease in a given day. If you want to experience daily rejuvenation, your restorative practices need to meet the level of energy spent. If you had an extra busy day, consider a restorative yoga class or a long bath to unwind completely before bed. Turning in early (before 10) is a good idea as well.
You can apply this to finding the balance of effort and ease in challenging times. When you are under a greater than normal degree of stress for an extended period of time, you need to double down on restorative practices for the duration of that time. Spending the extra time in silence, or in rest, will cultivate the depth necessary to endure.
How can you find the wise stability and patient acceptance of sthiram sukham asanam in your life?
Much love, ~ P