Sukhasana or ‘easy pose’ may not be one of those aspirational Instagram-worthy asanas we’re likely to see on the front of many yoga magazines. But maybe it should. Tune into yourself for a moment – is your breathing short and shallow? Is your jaw clenched? Is your mind racing? If the answer to any of these is a resounding YES, then we need to take time to steer into the slow lane.
Busy means good and stressed equals productive
In a fast-paced modern world where ‘busy’ means ‘good’ and ‘stressed’ equals ‘productive’, we seem to have lost the ability to simply sit and be. Along with a high-intensity work and social schedule, many of us practice hard core workouts or fast flowing, strong yoga classes – replacing one stress with another.
We need to slow down and experience simply being once again
Sitting, too has been demonised as a killer, and if we’re sitting, we’re probably beavering away at a computer or driving in busy traffic, stressing about getting to our destination. Indeed, the amount of pressure on our bodies and minds is mounting, but thankfully so too is the awareness of how much we really need to slow down and experience simply being once again. We’ve made things hard for ourselves and felt guilty about making time for ourselves. It’s time to find balance. It’s time to find ease.
We are shaped by our thoughts
A traditional seated posture for meditation, the name Sukhasana combines the Sanskrit word sukha, meaning ‘ease’, ‘pleasant’, or more literally ‘good space’, and asana, meaning ‘posture’ or ‘seat’. In yoga texts it is said to promote mental and physical balance. One school of yoga thought is that Sukhasana and the other meditation positions were actually the end goal of a physical practice – everything else was intended to prepare the body to sit in silence and quiet the mind. Not so easy after all….
Whilst the physical postures help to focus the mind, aid in a healthier body and burn off excess energies, it’s the happenings of the mind that ancient yogis were more interested in. Indeed, a famous line from the Buddha states – “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think”.
Sukhasana may be one of the most important postures
Today, we have so many ways to distract ourselves from the mind – from social media, Netflix….you name it, we can happily fill our hours with busy-ness. It’s easy for our senses to be pulled in all directions and to always be in a rush to keep up with deadlines and goals set not just by others, but by ourselves too. If the ‘goal’ of yoga is ‘calming the fluctuations of the mind’ then we can start by finding stillness in the body. If you feel the speed of your life really has become habitual, evident in racing thoughts, physical and emotional tension, stress and shallow breathing, then Sukhasana may be one of the most important postures you practice on a daily basis.
The ability to sit and simply be – to observe the room around you, to look up from the phone screen and open your eyes to the present moment – is something we can all do in order to literally slow the racing mind, and allow the feeling of speed to dissipate and release from our limbs. If we can actively practice finding ease and stillness, we have the opportunity to engage fully with the moment at hand, time to slow down, and rebalance ourselves before heading back out into the world again. The more we do this, perhaps the more we’ll be able to bring a little of that stillness and ease with us wherever we go.