Sthira sukham – Fully awake with comfort and lightness

By Karoliina • 28 September 2016

Many ask and wonder about the asana practice and how difficult it is and how much there are yoga relatated injuries. I think about it like this; how difficult it is to make a ”hat trick” and how many injuries there is in football? I know it isn’t quite the same. In fact the injuries with Yoga is less than in many other practices (as I don’t like to speak about yoga as a sport) and them often aren’t that serious. But them do happen and who is reponsable of someone getting hurt on a yoga class? These are good questions. This post is more directed to the teachers nor students, but to everyone wondering how to handle the heat when something happens and most important HOW TO PREVENT it from happening?

Like many of us Yoga teachers we teach many times blended classes, there some are totally new to asanas and some have been practicing maybe even longer than the teacher her / him self. It can be really challenging to keep the class simple at the same time you need to be able to offer the more advanced practicers more advanced asanas to work with. Some times is good to be challenged to try something new and more challenging but sometimes it’s better to choose a easier asana even when you could go further. Some times the classes can include 30 individuals or more and it gets really hard to keep your eyes on everyone. Maybe you manage to help some and some times you se that the best is to guide with words to clearify what is happening and what to avoid. How ever it’s totally un-human to think that we se everything even when we really are present 120% for our students. And as a teacher it is good to remember that there should always be modifications and alternatives for each level and it isn’t really that hard; startin with the easier modification -> Deepening untill you maybe offer the full final position. It’s so important to remember this. We only do our best and the rest is up to the students.

What i meen with that the rest is up to the students / practicers is that everyone of us have to be reponsable over our own practice and our own body. If something feels bad; ask for help if the teacher doesn’t se you in that moment. Listen to the signs of your body. Is there pain? What kind of pain is it; sharp, just uncomfortable, tension…? Maybe you need to back out of the position, maybe stay or take a easier modification. But as a teacher, I can’t feel your body – Only You can. So to keep injuries free, You need to be awake, honest and completely present in your body. It’s on the every practicers own responsability to say ”No thank you” to hands on guidning and to stay in the asanas in the right level. Only you know what is your status for today and how your body feels. If you do that, I can assure you will keep injury free. And if something with time starts to feel bad, let your teacher know and maybe she / he can help you with the problem.


 -Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sthira is to be awake and present and Sukham is to be light and comfortable. Asanam is in many caises said to be a meditative or seated pose.

I use the Sthira Sukham in all postures there you stop the movement for a while. Because for me even the asana practice can be deeply meditative. You want to feel the steadiness and the depth of a asana but if the easiness of the breath is lost the position is maybe to challenging that day. Even in the easiest postures is possibilities to find great amount of growing strenght if you just want to study the body deebly enough. It’s all about the balance as everything in life. Daring to challenge but not forgetting to give the progress the time it needs. Be a good yogi. Your body will Thank You!


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