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 can be explored in meditation, and in our lives.  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 free of rigidity or force: not going against ourselves in any way.  On a more subtle level steadiness implies self connection - attentive to our minds, and connecting with our hearts, and even deeper with our values, purpose, or soul.  When we are connected with what is essential we may draw upon an innate quality of steadiness, an inner ground of being.  

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 a way of being with.  Ease also implies openness to trust our process, or trust 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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