This month has been a slow down month for me. I’ve been practicing the embodiment of “Sthira Sukum Asanam”, one of the yoga sutras of Pantanjali, which can be translated as steady • comfortable • pose.
The yoga sutras of Pantanjali are practical pragmatic guides to conscious living. I’ve been leaning back into this particular sutra. Steady, comfortable, pose. When we feel steady and comfortable we experience a sensation of effortless effort. A seeming paradox. Yet break it down and it makes perfect sense. When we bring comfort into the body we find steadiness and when we are steady we find comfort.
The word Sthira can also mean firmness and the word Sukum meaning softness.
In Yoga practice we find our balance of a firm back and a soft front. Often the firm back pushes forward and the front becomes hardened. The pushing that comes from fear. We effort forward instead of leaning back into trust.
One of the easiest ways I have found to embody effortless effort immediately (seconds) is by doing a quick seated practice. It only takes a few minutes. I experienced this immediate shift recently through a guided visualisation by a friend and the effect was so visceral and so profound that I now share it in classes.
- Imagine an egg shape container surrounding your whole body.
- Sense that behind you right next to your back is a soft firm support.
- Lean back slightly into the firm yet soft support behind you. Lean back into it.
- Notice the changes in your body from leaning into that support. Stay with that sensation and keep noticing what happens.
- Feel the release of tensions from an effort to always be pushing forward
- Sink into the sensation of effortless effort as you allow yourself to be fully and totally supported from behind. Feel the firm back and soft front.
LEAN BACK MEDITATION – AUDIO VERSION
The link above will take you to Soundcloud where you can download the MP3 to your device by clicking on the download icon.
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Try this 2 minute meditation for 21 days every morning.
I’d love to hear from you if this changes anything in how you approach your life and if you practice yoga how it affects your yoga practice.