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Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Yoga Sutra 2.46

5 min - Talk


Kristin shares a talk about Sutra 2.46—Sthira Sukham Asanam, which is one of the few sutras that directly speaks to the asana practice. We look at striking a balance between holding good, sweet space and providing enough structure to find presence in the postures.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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May 27, 2018
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There are very few sutras that deal directly with asana, with the physical portion of the practice. Arguably, there's only one or two that say how, what is this asana thing we're talking about? And then a couple of other ones that kind of put them in a list of other things. So it's kind of remarkable in this whole text of nearly 200 of these little sutras that there's no mention of down dog, there's no mention of headstand, there's no mention of any of the postures that we call yoga or perform in a yoga asana class. And there's very little to glean about the asana in this book, which I think is pretty special.

It hints to us again that this yoga thing is so much bigger than the movements that we're doing in our physical body. The one that I think most directly speaks to asana, even has the word asana in it, is in the second chapter, so the portion on practice, sadhana-pada, and it's the 46th line, and it says sthira sukham asanam. And so we know the word asana often gets translated as kind of posture or pose, you're striking a asana, but the word, when you look at the little words that make it up again, have a richer, I think, definition, and that definition is seat, how we sit. So maybe not a downward dog, but also how we sit in relationship to our body, how we sit in relationship to gravity, how we sit in relationship to one another, should have the balance of sthira and sukham. Sthira is kind of like what it sounds like, sthira, structure, it's steady, strong, sthira.

You might have heard this word in different languages, or the little root, suk, appears in many different languages, like sukra in French, terrible French accent there, and in German and in Spanish, there's these words for sugar or sweetness, and it's sukra, I'll try it again, but it's still not very good. So this word means the sweetness or space, good space, or sweet spot, is the word sukham. So in our seat, our seat should have the qualities of strength and structure, support, boundaries, as well as good space, sweetness, tenderness. You can think of this in relationship to a down dog or relationship to your knee joint. There needs to be structure in the knee, but there needs to also be space inside the joints.

Or you can think about this in your love relationships, if you've ever had a love relationship that was all about openness and melting and no boundaries, it's not going to last long. Or conversely, if you've had a relationship that was all about boundaries and structure, and there was no sweetness, equally not going to work. So we need to strike some kind of balance between holding this good, sweet space and providing structure enough that we can find the presence within the posture.


Stacie C
2 people like this.
Have I thanked you for this class, yet? Because seriously, thank you! I apologize for commenting on every single video, lol. But I am learning so much!
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
I love to hear from you Stacie !! I'm so happy to hear you're digging it!
Steve P
2 people like this.

Dear Kristin, I wanted to let you know that you have a talent
to explain things with such an ease that everybody can get them. Being currently
on the journey of a teacher training, I really appreciate your lessons, they
are clear precise (Sthira) and there is fun (Sukham) in a perfect balance. Thank you !!!

Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Steve Thank you so much for your kind words! They truly mean a lot to me. I'm so happy that you are enjoying the series! Thank you for being here:)

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