It’s all about the Sukha Baby


‘Sukha’…… Approach your yoga practice (and life) with the understanding of Sukha.

Sukha translates as ‘easy’, for example ‘sukhasana, or easy pose’ but in our yoga practice (and life) it means so much more. In our modern western way of life ‘easy’ almost means lazy or to do something without any thought. ‘No problem’ we say, “its easy peasy”. But Sukha is actually work, but it is work that requires very little effort. So Sukha = Effortless Work. A student of Krishnamacharya, Ramaswami Srivatsa, says that sukha is ‘No Pain with Gain’. Read that again, NOT ‘no pain no gain’ (this isnt the 80’s) But ‘No Pain With Gain’. Whoa, can you do that? Can you really stop forcing your body into Chinese Acrobat positions and still be doing Yoga. Of course you can! Teachers are all the time saying ‘if it hurts don’t do it, but thats not the whole story. It isn’t just don’t get hurt, it is about trying to do poses without force, without strain and stress. Remember Yoga is about de-stressing not creating more stress. Feel how different it is to move out of pain instead of into pain. What a concept!

And like all of Yoga we can take these teachings off the mat and intertwine them into our lives. Matthieu Richard, a Buddhist monk and the author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill defines sukha as: “the state of lasting well-being that manifests itself when we have freed ourselves of mental blindness and afflictive emotions. It is also the wisdom that allows us to see the world as it is, without veils or distortions. It is, finally, the joy of moving toward inner freedom and the loving-kindness that radiates toward others.” So perhaps we can take that idea of No pain with gain into other aspects of how we live. When we are having a heated discussion with our spouse or partner, turn down the heat and apply Sukha, and see if you reach a mutually beneficial conclusion without the pain of arguing. Maybe you are stressing over how to ask for a raise at work, apply Sukha, see if your calm mind and presence can help you to better articulate the whys of you getting a raise. There are countless ways to bring Sukha into our lives.

So the next time your in bridge pose (or living your life) think about how you can use Sukha …..Effortless work. 

Om Shanti




Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  2.42 From an attitude of contentment (santosha), unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy, and satisfaction is obtained.
(santosha anuttamah sukha labhah)

Santosha, is one of the Niyamas and means contentment or satisfaction. Santosha refers to being content with your actions and with what you have done or  to be content about where you are in your life. When we aren’t content, we feel fearful and restlessness, and those wants and wishes create deep habitual patterns that contribute to our discontent and that discontent drives our actions, speech, and thought. You should not worry about the future or linger in the past. Santosha asks us to practice contentment with ourselves and our lives at the present moment. It is a tranquil state of mind that is not fearful or worried. It is an understanding of the need for balance in one’s life.
That doesn’t mean you stop striving to better yourself. Or to stop planning. We need to plan for things in our future; retirement, budgets, vacation time. Planning is a way to practice Santosha. You don’t have to worry about retirement if you are planning for it. Another way to practice Santosha is to relish the memories from your past but not to wallow in them, not to always be wishing you could change something that already happened. Give up the concept of 20/20 hindsight, learn from your mistakes, definitely, beat yourself up over them, no!  It means balance and if you take enough of my classes you know I am always talking about balance. Equanimity.
We can talk about equanimity, balance, contentment, but just exactly how do we create it? Well,  true Contentment comes from within. We always seem to be looking for satisfaction from something outside ourselves. So one thing we can do is to slow down for a moment and breathe; when you connect with your breath you can learn to listen to the wisdom of your spirit and from this place of just pausing and being aware of this moment, you can more easily choose to have an attitude of acceptance. An understanding of contentment and what that means for you.
Pranayama, asana, and meditation all help to create new patterns of thoughts and actions and this then we can choose and create a new, more positive habit.

Om Shanti



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