This term in our weekly yoga classes, the theme has been to cultivate both sukha and sthira in our yoga practice. These Sanskrit words feature in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a yogic text. Sutra 2. I actually love this as it gives us licence to interpret it in a way that makes sense to each of us. Sukha can mean happy, good, joyful, delightful, easy, agreeable, gentle, mild, virtuous or quite literally; good place. Sthira can mean to stand, to be firm, stable, compact, strong, steadfast, static, resolute, and even courageous.
Yoga, Love, Thoughts and Truth
Sthira and Sukha
Sometimes, the themes I set turn out to be very much beneficial for my own reflection too. With the translation of the Sutra, what Patanjali is really saying is that the Asanas, or the postures within Yoga, should be steady , and hold a certain aspect of ease or comfort within them. When really, the poses themselves…are actually doing the work for us. So when we are totally steady in an asana, it means that we are steady in our minds, and with our energies — as well as just the body. I win at seated forward fold! The breath is the one constant thing — the thread between me and my body.
Emotional Reactions During Yoga
Sthira is a sanskrit word meaning steady, strong, resolute and firm. Sukha translates as gentle, easy, joyful, agreeable and good. When using these words in relation to our yoga asana practice it denotes firming our muscles, using the core muscles to hold ourselves steady and still, staying strong in both mind and body to take a pose.
In describing the qualities of asana with the adjectives "sthira" and "sukha," Patanjali uses language very skillfully. Sthira means steady and alert--to embody sthira, the pose must be strong and active. Sukha means comfortable and light--to express sukha, the pose must be joyful and soft. These complimentary poles--or Yin and Yang co-essentials--teach us the wisdom of balance. By finding balance, we find inner harmony, both in our practice and in our lives.