The physical practice of yoga is built around Yoga Sutra II 46 Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means the posture should be a balance of effort and ease or strength and softness. For many of us yogis, it can be more difficult to access the ease and softness. But without these important qualities, you can’t find that sense of balance in your practice and in your life. If you are too rigid, that’s a lack of stability. If you’re too limp, that’s also unstable. Allowing yourself to be gentle and receive can be a challenge, but the benefits are numerous.
In yoga, we’re seeking a sense of Samadhi, the state of mind where your attention is clear, focused, unwavering, and relaxed simultaneously. One of the lessons on the yoga journey is discovering the difference between being and doing. In active Yang practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa, it can be easy to focus on the movement and the strength required to fill out the shape of Virabhadrasana (Warrior) I or Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose). We are accustomed to working hard, right? But if you push too hard, you’ll fall over or possibly injure yourself. To truly achieve Sthira Sukham Asanam in a pose, it is a dance between relaxing your body and mind, just as much as it is working to ground through your feet and expand your arms up toward the sky.
Slowing down and giving yourself permission to receive and enjoy slower practices ultimately makes you stronger in everything you do. In Yin and Restorative yoga, it is perfectly acceptable and necessary to be passive and simply breathe. It’s an opportunity to soothe your nervous system and rejuvenate your endocrine and digestive systems. You garner so many benefits from simply lying in a supported supine twist or savasana, so why can it be so hard to allow yourself to relax?
We’ve all heard that the strongest trees bend so they don’t break. It’s the same with us. We want to be supple, not brittle. Time spent in a more “lazy” style of yoga will ultimately help you be your most balanced self not just in your yoga practice, but in your life. This week's yoga classes will help you be gentle and nurturing towards yourself, while still practicing, instead of needing to push and force all the time. Enjoy!
1. Jackie Casal Mahrou - Gentle Hatha Yoga: Journey Inward
2. Caitlin Rose Kenney - Full Body Gentle Flow
3. Dana Smith - Lazy Day Yoga
4. Channing Grivas - Super Lazy Restorative
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