Patañjali defines āsana, the physical postures of yoga, as a state where the dual qualities of sthira – firmness, steadiness, stillness and effort – and sukha – softness, openness, lightness and comfort – are both present together.
It is an expression of the mind, body and breath working together in a balanced manner to achieve a balanced result.
How do we achieve this balance between attentive steadiness and open space in āsana?
The breath in āsana is a particularly important indicator of sthira and sukha. If it becomes short and laboured, or so easy that our minds wander, we know we are not practicing yoga.
Recognising our limitations, adapting the posture appropriately and focussing our attention and awareness will create this balance.
Do I balance firmness with softness, strictness with ease, and stability with letting go?
And how can I develop these opposing yet complementary qualities in my daily life?
My first new Saturday morning class at the Cambourne Fitness and Sports Centre was very enjoyable from my point of view. I hope everyone felt the same! What a lovely studio! We focused on the breath in āsana and finished with seated ujjāyī. Next week our focus will be Yoga Sutra Ch2, v46 - sthira-sukham-āsanam - 'posture is firm and pleasant'