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.
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.
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