|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 429 ]
Sukha means "easy", so sukasana is the "pose of ease" or the "pleasant posture."
Easy though it may look, as you already know the average person today has a tremendous amount of stiffness throughout their body, especially in the hips, knees, ankles and lower back. Thus, sitting comfortably for a long period of time in ANY position is difficult for a lot of people. So what the yogis of lore had considered easy or pleasant in their time may be anything but that for the average person today.
If you have been diligent and regular in your practice of the hatha yoga techniques presented to you thus far, you should be able to sit quite comfortably within this posture. Even though sukha asana is the simplest of yoga sitting positions, it may still take a bit of time for you to feel a sense of ease and yogic steadiness within it for a long period of time.
The technique is a simple one, performed by sitting with the legs crossed at the ankles. Some points to consider:
Note: A light butterfly action (gently bouncing up and down) of the knees in this position can help to loosen the hips and lower the knees.
- Try to get the knees at the same level.
- The hips should be opened up enough so that the knees are held down near the floor and not held too high off the ground.
Sukha asana is a great general sitting position whenever one has the opportunity or necessity to sit, such as when sitting in class, attending satsanga, reading, etc. I recommend that you try to avoid chair-sitting as much as possible now and instead adopt some of our yogic sitting methods, such as the sukha asana, or vajra asana, for improved posture, body musculature and flexibility, and spinal health.
- The back should be straight and head held upright so that the spine, neck and head form a nice vertical line.
Once you have developed the ability to sit comfortably the 'yogic way' for lengthy periods, you'll find that an increased vitality, enhanced energy and mental clarity will also result.
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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