Sthira and sukha

T.K.V. Desikarchar, in his book The heart of yoga, describes sthira and sukha as "the steady alertness and the lightness and comfort of being".    This has been my bhavana this week.  I wasn't sure how it would play out in my teaching or my life.  I set the intention and then opened up to the flow of grace. 

This delicate balance between the effort of sthira with the comfort of sukha is sort of like walking a tight rope while juggling coconuts.  Well, maybe that's an exaggeration but at least that's what it feels like sometimes.
The various students that I've encountered this week have confirmed for me that I'm not alone in this walk on the tight rope.

As I was signing people in for class at each of the four classes this week I heard students talking about their struggles to find balance in their lives.   One student talked about how drained she felt from teaching yoga full-time.  Another was feeling depleted from working at a full time job and trying to build her business as a body worker.  Even when the students didn't express their struggle to find balance I witnessed it during their practice. During dinner last night a family member said that he found it so hard to unwind on vacation that by the time he did finally unwind the vacation was over.

Through the practice of Svadhyaya or self-study, we learn to recognize when we are out of balance.
Once we notice the imbalance we can open our yoga tool box and I can assure you that you'll find exactly the right thing to bring you back into balance. 

The general theme I heard this week was too much effort (sthira).  People are working too much, trying to do too many things.  The result is a feeling of depletion and exhaustion.  What's needed to bring these folks back into balance is suka, comfort, lightness of being.  What does that look like you ask?  Well, it looks like resting, nourishing and nurturing yourself.  It's simply being still and breathing deeply.  Restoring our energy is just as important as the effort we apply in our daily lives.  Without it, we will never have enough energy to keep going.  Give yourself permission to relax, in doing so you give others around you permission to relax as well.  My friend Jon says "It's not your job to hold up the world, hon."

I'd like to share a few things that I have found to be restorative and nourishing for me.  I'd love to hear what suka looks like for you. 

* Do some restorative yoga poses. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) for example
* Take a walk in the woods or a park
* Read
* My favorite - take an Inner Fire Yoga class!

I'm always so amazed at the synchronicity of life.  Do you see the flow of grace?  I set the intention of practicing sthira and sukha and universe provided me with these wonderful students to show me what that looks like.   Teaching yoga is such a blessing! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for yoga  and for the many lessons it has taught me.

Remember in order to love and serve we must restore and nourish ourselves so that we will be strong enough to do our part in holding up the world.


  1. I love this post, thank you for the reminder, Sthira Sukha, indeed, finding that center, that balancing point, it is so important. Love your suggestions too, I usually like time for me, and meditation, the silence and the clearing of the mind allows enough space to see things a-new and in a fresh way.


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