14 April 2014

Letting go of extra effort. Sthhira-Sukha- balancing opposites.

                                          
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 This is short post on letting go of extra effort through the principle of Sthhira-Sukha.
'Sthhira-sukham-aasanam' is one of the Sutras (aphorisms) of Patanjali.
This is the use of strength and relaxation at the same time.
What he is saying here is when we exert ourselves and put effort in getting into a certain asana say the Downward facing dog, Adho-mukha-shvan-asana, we need to also keep in mind that we flow into the posture, aligning the entire body comfortably. Initially the effort may seem more and then as we become friends with our yoga practice we can relax even in the seemingly harder postures.
                                                        Strength-relaxation. Sthhira Sukha                          
                                                    
     When we finally are in the posture, we then need to get aware of everything that's happening in the body at the time and of the breath gently moving through us. We need to see that we r not stiff, thus letting go of extra effort and tension that we hold in any part of the body.
Then there is a feeling of effort balanced by a feeling of immense enjoyment. Sthhira-Sukha.

This principle can be applied to daily life when we check back with our body every once in a while.
We could check to see if we are holding our stomach clenched( leads to issues in the digestive system), holding our neck, shoulders tense( leads to the most common frozen shoulder, aches, pains and other issues) and run our mind through the entire body loosening every part.

This can be done with huge benefits just before eating which is why I think most cultures have a tradition of praying before a meal and before we fall asleep. This will lead to better assimilation of nutrients and a more peaceful sleep.
As we get used to this we could get back to our bodies a few times a day and run an inner glance and loosen tight areas.                                            Combining nature with spiritual yoga- Dhanurasana

There are a few more opposing principles in yoga which need to be balanced as well. I will touch upon them in later posts.

Balancing of opposites is an extremely interesting principle that can be applied to so many areas of life. Do think and leave me your thoughts in the comments, on what examples come to you.
       
Also check out few of other blogs participating in the A to Z challenge this april here http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

14 comments:

Swathi Shenoy said...

i had been to yoga class and i do know adho mukha shavasana.. but i wasnt aware of the meaning n benefits of it! such an insightful post sunila :)

http://swathishenoy.blogspot.com/
a-z participant

Jayanta Tewari said...

Another informative post on Sthhira-Sukha. yes, in Yoga, controlling mind is equally important to body postures. Hope you would agree.

Eli Z said...

Ou, another interesting post.. Relax and strength- perfect. I am so into your theme Sunila - suits me so well:-) I add so much theory and explanations to my yoga exercises.

Shailaja V said...

I just consciously sat straighter and loosened my neck muscles when reading this, Sunila ;) You have a gift and I hope to benefit from all of this as the days progress. Great post.

~Shailaja's latest A~Z post

Beloo Mehra said...

Another highly informative and insightful post. Really an important reminder - balancing the opposites. And flowing into the posture - bodily as well as other areas of our lives. And your point about praying before meals and going to bed is very insightful. Thanks Sunila!

Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

Nabanita said...

This is something I should definitely follow!

L for loved-Random Thoughts Naba

Srilakshmi Indrasenan said...

Wow I am refreshing all these now.. thanks!!

~S(t)ri
Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day!

Mina Menon said...

U are sharing a wealth of knowledge with all of us... thank you indeed!

Anonymous said...


Very informative...
Not only posture, yoga balances mind and soul also....thanks for sharing

Dr. Gauri Kekre said...

When I finally make it to a yoga class, I think I will be armed with more information than my instructor :D

Dr. Gauri Kekre said...

When I finally make it to a yoga class, I think I will be armed with more information than my instructor :D

PhenoMenon said...

Was a regular exercise till I got a sprain in my leg. Haven't started after that

PhenoMenon
http://throodalookingglass.com/2014/04/knives/

G Angela said...

Another great post ! appreciate you for sharing such valuable information !

Shilpa Garg said...

That was an insightful post, Sunila! I liked especially how this aasan can be applied in daily life. Thanks for sharing :)