Question: How do the spiritual and contemplative aspects of yoga resonate with and affect you?

Answers: (real answers from real yoga students)

A: The physicality of breathing and intentional movement grants me access to the meditative mind.

A: Making the mind/body connection grounds me.

A: When the yoga class is over I am more in touch with mine and others’ energy.

A: Yoga heals me on all levels.

A: Yoga focuses and quiets my mind.

A: I am exposed to myself, ugh!!! You mean that’s all me?!

A: Practice helps me to shed the angst and feel more peaceful.

A: Everything looks, feels and tastes brighter.

A: It’s sooo interesting when physical things going on in my body correspond with issues and emotions I’m struggling with.

A: I am able to surrender, to let go and gain clarity more easily.

A: Wow! The emotions that bubble up sometimes are intense and amazing. What a relief to let that stuff come up and out!

A: Yoga provides me with the tools to nd the calm on and off the mat.

A: Yoga brings intention and awareness into my actions and into my life.

A: I can remember and feel the giggles when I unshackle my soul.

A: The issues in my tissues are such a reflection and metaphor for the rest of my life.

A: Yoga helps me to face that which I have been consciously and unconsciously avoiding.

A: I realize and can’t deny how it’s all connected!!!

A: I love savasana;))

What is the “Yoga Sutra?”

Yoga teachings that were passed down through the Oral tradition and finally compiled and Written in the form of Sanskrit Sutras in 200BC by Patanjali. For the yogi on the path, the Sutras are a psychological “roadmap.”

A sutra is a compressed and simple statement of just a few words which imparts profound meaning, like poetry. The yogi contemplates and meditates upon the sutra, over time, to fully extract the deeper and personal meaning. This meaning evolves as the yogi evolves

II.46 SthiraSukhamAsanam

sthira – steady, stable, rm, steadfast, strong

sukham – (from the same root as sucrose) sweet, joy, delight, ease

asanam -posture, seat

Definition: The refining and perfection of the asana comes from a fine balance of stability and yet ease in the body, steadiness and yet calm of the mind and joy of the spirit.

This sutra is one of the most popularly used in Hatha yoga classes. It is one of the only three yoga sutras out of 196 that refer to asana, the physical practice of yoga.

In a simple and profound way Patanjali describes the perfect asana and the intention of asana practice. We are asked as students of Hatha yoga to bring incredible effort and intelligence into the asana without aggression and to remember ease and joy without avoidance, complacency or dullness.

When we apply the principles of sthira/steadiness and sukham/ ease together, the practice of asana becomes a tool for transformation and healing. It helps us look at the “issues in our tissues” and return to balance and health. Our asana practice also becomes a vehicle to directly experience the union of mind, body, breath and spirit.

As we strive for sukham/ease and joy, we might notice our gripped effort and unconscious tendency to create tension, aggression and anxiety. We relax the intensity of our effort, unclench the jaw and forehead and remember to breathe and smile. As we cultivate sthira, the effort to be steady, we might see that we can’t balance on one leg, the arch of a foot is collapsing or the quadriceps muscle doesn’t re. We might see that we like to space out or that we fidget endlessly in the posture to avoid the discomfort that arises. It takes steadiness of mind and discipline to do the work which returns alignment and balance.

About the Author

Angela Tong

Angela, E-RYT, MaOM, Dipl.Ac, BaBIO, is a mother, a yoga teacher, an acupuncturist and the co-founder of the Teton Yoga Shala, a sanctuary of Yoga and Wellness, located in the Aspens in Wilson. angela@tetonyoga.com, www.tetonyoga.com

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