In the Beginning.....!
So, this is all new to me! How to start? I never thought I'd find myself lost for words - a blank page though can be terrifying....! If Yoga has taught me only one lesson to cope with this modern world it would be take a long, slow breath.... and now I can begin!
Sthira Sukha - Pop Up theme of the week.
At Mont Blanc Yoga Pop Ups we have a weekly theme. Our weekly themes may be based in the world of Yoga and its teachings like this week, or can seem completely 'non Yoga'! What all bring to the class though hopefully, are reflections and practical aids to find a balanced, happy lifestyle. Surely that's what we all want ultimately and certainly, that to me is Yoga.
This week it's Sthira Sukha ( #sthirasukha ). It's a very ancient guideline for our Yoga practice, originating from the very ancient text, 'The Yoga Sutras' by Patanjali, however it is incredibly pertinent today to everyday life. The Sanskrit words can be translated in many ways to relate to our physical practice or just about any other part of life you wish to relate them to! One common translation of these words is 'Effort and Ease'. My mother's voice springs to mind when I think of this, telling me 'not to try so hard' - an odd thing for an encouraging parent to say! (It may have coincided with the day apparently my face turned purple in colour from trying to teach myself how to use my skipping rope!). We can all be guilty of trying too hard, putting all our effort into something, when we only needed to take a second to think about what we were doing in order to find an easier route to the same end. This is where our physical practice in Yoga gives us the chance to become aware of what we are doing and to adapt. Are you over effortful and going purple faced?! Tune in to what you are doing....Draw back 20% and find the 'Ease' to balance your effort.
Another translation can be 'Strength and Comfort'. What would you relate these words to in your life right now? What do you find strength in? Where do you find comfort? Do you find both in the same place? Again, start with your next Yoga pose and notice how much better it feels to find that spot, where strength and comfort sit side by side.
'Security and Freedom' is a different way of looking at Sthira Sukha. To have the second we need the first, whether we are talking financially, emotionally, politically or indeed anywhere we hope for freedom in our lives. But then, what if we look at it the other way round? 'Freedom' here represents Sukha, literally translated as "good space". Originally, this was the hole where the strong axle of the chariot wheel could fit easily into and then both wheel and axle moved smoothly and reliably. Without a 'good space' the journey could be very bumpy and even dangerous.
Let's think of our Yoga from the viewpoint of Solidity and Dexterity. These words sound completely in opposition to one another. Think of your foot as you stand on it in a one legged balance. Your standing foot is grounded, even rooted to the floor below, bones directly connecting through ankle and knee joint to hip and pelvis like strong scaffolding. Solid. Now think of all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia, including your skin surrounding the scaffold, making tiny adjustments, alternating tension, adapting each millisecond right down to the tip of your tiniest toe. Dexterity. All doing their jobs and working together, like the axle and the axle hole of the wheel.
Effort and Ease, Strength and Comfort, Security and Freedom, Solidity and Dexterity....stop 'trying so hard', become aware and you'll find that 'Good Space'!
More of this week's themed Sthira Sukha class practices to come....!