Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Steadiness and Ease, Yoga Sutras style

The yoga sutras encourage us to cultivate two qualities in order to master yoga. The sanskrit is sthiram and sukham, which is often translated to steadiness and ease.  Cultivating these qualities applies to the physical and internal practice of yoga poses and spills over into deeper practices of meditation, and into everything we do in life.  It's interesting to me that some discoveries in neuroscience and psychology about attachment, human development, trauma healing and the nervous system guide us in a similar direction.  

On the physical level, steadiness refers to grounding, to finding a good foundation in the pose from the ground up. Steadiness allows us to sustain, with a quality of strength but not with rigidity nor forcing nor going against ourselves in any way.  On a more subtle level steadiness implies self connection - with our mind attentive, our heart connecting, and even deeper with our values, purpose, even our soul.  When we are connected with what is essential we can draw from a quality of steadiness within us.

Ease implies a quality of spaciousness with a kind, or compassionate, orientation towards our experience.  In this context, ease is about cultivating right effort in our practice - neither forceful nor lackadaisical, either of which will disengage us. Ease isn’t about avoiding;  it’s about the way of doing or being with.  Ease also implies trusting our process, and trusting life.  Our individual paths of trusting can be quite diverse.  Balancing and savoring the breath supports us with both steadiness and ease.  Cultivating steadiness and ease creates a physical and internal environment where joy and discovery can emerge.  

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