When no sukham, go big with the sthira

We all have these days, right? When everything is tighter than normal, when the joints don’t want to cooperate, when the hips make a sound like a branch breaking in the first Trikonasana.

Via ashtangayoga.info

For whatever reason, that was my morning practice today. (In other words, super tight instead of just incredibly tight.)

I’ve had enough experience with these days — and even good days — not to despair. (Maybe a result of the yoga?) When I can tell that deeper stretches aren’t on order, I instead emphasize the other part of Patanjali’s sutra: the sthira. Steadiness or, perhaps for this a better translation, strength.

I make sure the transitions during the seated poses are as controlled and smooth as possible. (There may be a few extra circus flourishes, too.) Chaturangas are held and never rushed. (OK, rushed less often.) Navasana and Shirshasana are held for a few more breaths, if possible.

I suppose I think about it this way: if a “perfect” practice is a balance of sthira and sukham, 50 and 50 adding up to 100, then on the days when the sukham is only coming in about 25, I have to fill in the void with extra sthira. So, today, probably about a 75/25 breakdown.

And, yes, I’m focusing reductively on the physical.

Strangely enough, in the midst of all this tightness, there was one bit of sukham as I jumped to Bhujapidasana.

Titibasana seemed … close. And so I broke away from the proper routine and tried it three times. By the third I had something; if I could have fully straightened my legs, I think I was supported enough to hold it there.

Maybe. Time will tell. On one of those closer-to 50/50 days.

Posted by Steve


Published by


Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s