This pose invites relaxation into the mind, strengthens the legs, and most certainly improves posture. As always, listen to your body and practice caution with any asana.
To begin, sit on your mat and extend your legs out in front of you. Bending one knee at a time, cross one shin over the other and widen your knees comfortably. Tuck each foot underneath the opposite knee, while leaving a good distance between your feet and pelvis.
DIG A LITTLE DEEPER
Invite an equal balance in your sit bones by gently leaning to one side, lifting the bum-cheek and re-positioning it on the mat. Repeat on the other side. Relax the lower body and allow the natural weight of your thighs to open the hips. Sit up nice and tall, allowing your spine to lift into it’s natural curve. Relax your shoulders and rest your hands on your thighs or knees. Lengthen the neck, drop the chin slightly, and relax the facial muscles. Focus on the energy running from the root of your seat all the way to the crown of your head.
PROPS AND OTHER VARIATIONS
Struggling to sit upright? If so, you’re not alone! Try these:
- Sit on the edge of a blanket. Adjust the thickness based on your comfort level.
- Sit on a block or pillow.
- Sit against a wall. Be sure not to lean all your weight on it. The wall only is there to keep you comfortable.
- If sitting on the floor is not in your practice, you can sit in a chair with your feet firmly placed on the ground. Use the suggestions above starting from your seat and up to the crown of your head.
I wanted to start with Sukhasana because it’s the pose-to-end-all poses. Before the inclusion of Warriors and Tree Poses in yoga, there was only Sukhasana and yoga for the inner Self.
Sukhasana is traditionally for meditation, and anyone new to the practice who has sat in this pose for more than a few minutes might attest that it is not really an easy pose.
Consistently practicing the widely used asanas of today will allow you to remain in Sukhasana for longer and longer periods of time, thus giving you the physical stability you need to sit and journey inward; the true meaning of yoga.
This was the hardest pose for me when I first started to practice. I would sit against my bed and feel so insecure about needing back support. It took me years to work up the courage to sit on a block or pillow, and when I finally did, it was a game changer.
The longer I have practiced, the kinder I am to my body and listen to what it needs. There are still days when I need a block. When I teach, I sit on a block in every class.
If I have one piece of advice I can give about this pose, it’s to use other variations if you need them. How are you supposed to settle into your practice if your back, knees, and hips are in pain? How can you focus on your breath when all you can think about is when you can release from the posture?
Now, go on and get your Sukhasana on! Let me know how it goes.