Wednesday, February 20

Be steady and Comfortable

sthira-sukham asanam

"The posture should be steady and comfortable."
~ Yoga Sutra 2:46

Oh Cathy, you silly lady. I actually hadn't read a Cathy comic for years - although I have a journalism degree, I'm not much of a newspaper reader. However, my parents told me the strip had been running a long series of yoga cartoons.

Thought this was a good one to discuss the Yoga Sutra's definition of asana or postures of yoga. I began reading Judith Lasiter's book Living your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life where she delves into the Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, both spiritual texts of yoga (remember it's not a religion).

One of the first chapters broaches self-judgment through this sutra. Many of us get into a yoga posture and criticize ourselves the entire team or we push ourselves to a more challenging position of it, even though we're out of alignment or in pain. As Lasiter writes "In reality, our thoughts about the poses reflect our thoughts about ourselves." Just the other day I read a similar statement in Meditations from the Mat saying our mats are our "mirrors" to ourselves.

If we apply Patanjali's Yoga Sutra to be "comfortable and steady" throughout our postures and our life is "crucial" according to Lasiter and it begins with your inner thoughts. Stop judging yourself through every posture. Think of being "comfortable and steady" when holding one, and if you're not, ease off. It's okay not to strain or hurt during a posture... in fact, it's best not to and life works the same way. Your life doesn't have to be hard or strenuous; in fact it is meant to be joyous.

So practice being comfortable and steady. You could try it first on your mat as Lasiter suggests. Try a pose that's difficult, if not impossible, for you to do (always be SAFE!). Do it everyday for a month and before you begin say,'"I am attempting something difficult, and I appreciate myself for trying."' Also try it in your life. When you catch yourself judging yourself unfairly say "I am perfect as I am." It may be hard at first but affirmations are seeds in your mind to grow better thoughts.

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