Sukhasana: The Posture of Ease & Sadhana

Yoga Illumined certified teacher Michelle Widmer suggested we add a Pose or Asana of the Month along with a Theme of the Month for www.yogaillumined.com.  And I thought this a brilliant suggestion.  I love tying them to each other.  The pose of the month is Sukhasana – “Sukha” means ease, joy, freedom, sweetness.  Our Theme of the Month is Sadhana.

11249402_954003434651632_7619488509096571796_nThe prefix “Su” in Sanskrit means sweetness, beauty, illumination, joy.  I know this because my Sanskrit name, Sumukhi, starts with “Su” and ends with the word for “face” – “mukhi.”  The “i” at the end makes it feminine, put an “a” at the end, you have the masculine.  That’s how we hear the word “mukha” the most in yoga classes – Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana  (upward facing dog).

Sukhasana ties in very well with our Theme of the Month – Sadhana.  Often times we see Eastern meditation and spiritual practices depicted in Sukhasana.  I’ve included a photo taken by Yoga Illumined certified teacher Myra Simmons of our friend Prakash in sukhasana during her YogaHike class.  It is a seated pose, with legs crossed on the ground.  We often sit on the ground in meditation because it confers an energetic seal with Mother Earth, we call her “Pritthivi” in Sanskrit.  The spine sits long and tall, the head sits easily on the top of the neck.  Hands can take on mudras (seals of energy in the hands and feet that set the body in alignment).  And then the “Sadhaka” practices Yoga, the science of mastering the mind.

One thing to note is that traditionally, we do not stretch the soles of our feet out towards a Guru, a teacher, because the feet are warehouses of Shakti or divine energy.  We fold them in sukhasana as a way of sealing the energy of our meditation back into our own systems.  When we simply open our feet out to an enlightened master or teacher, it’s as if we are saying that we will not take in the Shakti they are offering.

On some level – we are simply giving our power away instead of creating the energetic mudra that brings the teachings of the masters into the very cells of our bodies.  So I’ve often prompted folks who are new to the Guru tradition to fold legs back in sukhasana when seated at their feet.  The higher sign of full surrender to the lotus feet of the Guru is dropping your head to their feet – which is a message that says “take this busy monkey mind of mine, and infuse it with the stillness of meditative grace.”

But this is another pose.  One that takes a while to master.  The pose of surrender.  That’s another subject.  For now I leave you with one of the few sutras our great teacher Patanjali gave about the 3rd limb of yoga, asana:

sthira sukham asanam ||46||

स्थिरसुखमासनम् ॥४६॥

sthira-sukham-āsanam ||46||

“Steady – Easy – Seat”

May we all practice yoga with supreme joy, ease and bliss.

Om shantih om,

Sumukhi

 

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