Sthira & Sukham, Strength & Ease

cropped-shel_silverstein.jpgAs I settle back into my life in Miami, I realize that I am personally in a very different place. No longer a ‘student’ (although always learning) and working on developing myself as a professional. Aside from my initial excitement, this has brought on a little unease, a couple moments of doubt and apathy, but mostly, thoughtfulness. I deal with this by asking the question “What needs more and what could use less?”

In yoga, there is a small portion of the Sutras- ancient yogic text- that details a necessary state of being. This pose/posture is the only ONE referred to by the author Patanjali (who was believed to be a man or communal wisdom). The other things that we do in a ‘yoga class’ in the West were also made in India (don’t worry!), but they were made later on in order to bring attention to yoga- to meditation, love, and an enlightened way of living. The singular pose that initially carried the practice of yoga is called ‘Sthira Sukham Asanam,’ or maintain steadiness and ease while seated. It’s as simple and difficult as that. Sthira and Sukham have further been referred to as strength and ease and can be used not only to describe the best way to practice yoga on your mat, but the way that it is intended for you to do everything in life- balanced.

With this in mind, ask yourself “What areas in my life could use more force, more action, and where can I afford to do a little less, be more passive?” I seek stronger faith in my abilities and more action in marketing myself. I will let go of self-imposed deadlines and frustration. How about you? Maybe you put forth a lot of effort towards making your voice heard, your opinion known. You lecture others, share your stories, and boost your ego. Perhaps you can spend a little more time being silent. Listening and asking what someone else thinks or feels like. Considering an alternate perspective, learning. Here are some other ideas.

Less criticism, more gratitude. Practice finding good or nice aspects of wherever you are as opposed to pointing out the bad, the negative. That little Spanish restaurant inside the gas station, right off the highway is sort of charming. They have great shrimp and make cuban coffee.

Less expectations, more experience. You can’t know how the night is going to turn out, it’s impossible to know that you will not like the ambience, the drinks will be expensive, and the people won’t be ‘your kind of people.’ Go to the comedy show with an old friend and several people you have not yet met and see what happens.

More dancing, less insecurity. Dance because you like the song and you feel like recreating Michael Jackson’s moon-walk, don’t imagine what you look like to others and worry that they’re not going to like your moves.

More cooking, less ‘fast-food.’ Invite your friends over for a pot-luck, teach your daughter how to make your pasta carbonara or ropa vieja, make frozen lobster tails with your partner and beg them to try out quinoa. Spend more time on this. Yes, you have work tomorrow and you were supposed to write that email- but right now it’s time for dinner.

Try this out for yourself. See where you can afford to keep a little more and give a little less. See how you can strengthen one thing and sit back and enjoy the other. Make Sthira and Sukham your life-long friends.

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