Sukasana/Easy Pose: Taking a seat
- Lengthens the spine
- Opens the chest
- Stretches the hips and adductors
- Creates calm in the mind
- Strengthens the back
- Allows for turning inward
This month we look at sitting. Not always the easiest (as sukha refers to) of postures. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Yoga Sutras by Patanjali invite us to use our postures (asanas) to cultivate the ability to sustain a meditation practice. Most of us know that Sukha means to be comfortable and relaxed but it is also the process of being able to let go and flow with what is, even when it is hard. Of course, this is easier when we are physically more comfortable. Below you will find a variety of ways to find a comfortable seat. Explore them all keeping in mind that our bodies and mind shift not only day-to-day but moment to moment and a sitting posture one day, might not work the next.
When you look at the picture of Shiva sitting in Sukhasana take in the symbols of sitting and meditation. Shiva sits with his eyes closed staying inside but keeping watch on humanity at the same time through his third eye between his brows. The snake around his neck is symbol of his mastering his senses as is the tiger skin he sits upon. The trident represents the threefold nature of the universe – creating, sustaining and destroying and the drum keeps note of the rhythm of time. The crescent moon in his hair is reminder that time does not stand still but we can present ourselves with ease and calm in an ever changing world.
Taking a Seat
- Sit on the floor with both legs extended on a folded blanket so that your buttocks is half-way on and half-way off. Bend your right leg and place the heel close to your left sitting bone. Then bend your left leg and place the left shin in front of your right shin in a simple cross-legged fashion. Check in: your want your hips higher than your knees. If this is not the case – try one or more of the following modifications.
- Sit up on two folded blankets or a bolster, this will create more support for your hips.
- Place two blankets one on top of the other, turn the blankets on an angle so they look like a diamond. Try the posture by sitting on one corner of the diamond with the “point” in between the legs.
- From position #1, place blocks or rolled blankets under your knees.
- If your arms are shorter, place a folded blanket across your knees to rest your arms.
- Sit on the front end of a chair and cross your ankles.
Other than the chair option, try placing a blanket under your folded blanket/bolster for more cushion for the legs or ankles.