Yoga has become very much about the physicality of our practice – I wrote about that here for Wisdom Yoga Institute. There is a lot of sexy in the selling of yoga. But what might truly blossom within us through yoga can not be represented by a picture on the beach doing hanumanasana (splits).
What comes is steadiness and ease.
We are obsessed with the physicality of the practice. This is essentially a misrepresentation of yoga and limits our understanding of this beautiful practice to simple one element. It can be likened to seeing a beautiful painting or art piece but not comprehending the art or sculpture in full and only seeing one element.
Yoga with simply a focus on the physical belies the greater beauty of the practice when undertaken holistically.
A lot happens when we embark on asana practice. There is joy, excitement, and a sense of groundedness from getting into our bodies. When we combine the physicality of our practice with the gentle effort of paying attention, of being with, no striving, no need to achieve, just breath, body, movement.
We practice continually returning.
To what is. Here and Now.
We discover beauty in the small moments. The ordinary becomes precious.
The way the sun may still shine when the rain sprinkles.
The touch of a loved one.
The mere fact you got to wake up today might be celebrated.
Moreover, you develop a sense of ease. This is what Patanjali is talking about when he says:
Sthira Sukham Asanam
Usually, we think of this quote as being solely relevant to the practice of asana (postures).
Yet how our practice unfolds off the mat is the way in which we can see the impacts of our sadhana (spiritual practice). Do we know how to find our centre? Can we be steady even when things are hard? Can we communicate our truth with loving kindness?
Steadiness and ease is not a permanent state you arrive at. I understand that is purported by Gurus and the thing is we all have our shadow and sometimes we will lose our shit.
Practice and steadiness have escaped me many times during my life. During IVF. When I had a miscarriage, when we learned firsthand how ugly the business of yoga can be, when someone close to me was very unwell. These were all times wherein I felt unsteady. A sense of ease had escaped me and I felt bereft.
Sometimes you will feel a little broken by life.
Sthira Sukham Asanam doesn’t mean you are always going to feel Zen. Ease doesn’t come without effort. This steadiness is something we cultivate over time, so when life is difficult, when the unexpected comes we can work with and through it. We can be with it. We can stay strong and steady but soften into how we feel.
Sthira Sukham Asanam is something we cultivate and it is an embodied experience that arises. It requires a gentle dedication to find this ease in life. It is not sexy or exciting, but an embodied sense of Sthira Sukham Asanam is life changing.
We all need support in finding steadiness.
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