“Find the perfect place between effort and effortlessness and stay there. Breathe”, said the yoga instructor.
The Sanskrit phrase “Sthira Sukham Asanam” was coined by Sage Patanjali in 200BC. He wrote the Yoga Sutras (aphorisms), the foundational texts of yoga.
Sthira translates as strong, steady, and stable.
Sukham means comfortable, happy, and relaxed.
Asanam refers to the physical practice of yoga.
He described that although Sthira and Sukham are opposites, they are equally important qualities to develop in the practice of yoga. Opposites do not have to be mutually exclusive. A yoga practice should be strong and gentle, steady and joyful. Similarly, harmony is a balance between holding on and letting go.
It made me think of the applicability of the same principle to other areas of life. At work, it would be ideal to have a balance between tasks that are stimulating and challenging (effort) and others that are easily achievable (effortless). In relationships, while some aspects need work, others are comfortable and comforting.
To be strong, stable, and steady are wonderful qualities but I need to balance that with joy and relaxation. In both yoga and life often there is plenty of Sthira, but not enough Sukham and vice versa.
Presently, in warm weather I derive great pleasure from being able to walk bare foot around the house, to feel the direct connection with Mother Earth and feel the coolness on my soles and my weight being distributed across both feet.
Let me give myself permission to cultivate more Sukham.