Sukha means learning to be here, now, in your yoga practice & your life. Here’s how to achieve it…
If you haven’t noticed, yoga is a lot like life. There are challenges to deal with – injuries, traumas, and hangups that are uniquely yours. There are triumphs, joys, and disappointments. We all want perfection (and we want it now), but even with frequent practice, it eludes us. Learning to practice yoga where you are right now, and be comfortable in your own skin and forgiving of your shortcomings, takes time. It takes effort. it takes patience. It takes lots and lots of learning and growing. But somewhere in there, with enough time, practice, patience, and growth, you may achieve sukha.
This principle is variously translated as, “gentleness,” “ease,” “joy,” and “good space.” (Notice the connection with Sukhasana or “Easy Pose?”) And as with most yogic principles, it’s easier said than done. However, this yogi describes a few things that helped her find sukha in her yoga practice – and her life:
Call in sukha through your breathing
I learned the value of deep breathing as a little girl during a drive-by shooting. I was six-years-old and my grandmother told me to lie down and get away from the windows. As I laid on the ground, I watched my belly and narrated out loud, “belly goes up, belly goes down.” I calmed down and felt safer. Those words are still my mantra… In order to enter into a state of comfort and ease, I deepen my breath, relax my shoulders, throat and the muscles in my face. Sukha comes in the form of a six-year-old’s mantra—that is now “inhale” and “exhale.”
Even with all my years of studying yoga and mindfulness, I’m still the most impatient person I know. I want people to respond to my emails quickly. I want my boyfriend to text me back immediately… What I’ve learned though is that expectation is premeditated resentment. When I’m impatient, it creates an expectation that the world should operate on my frequency. The best gift I can get is when the world does not operate my way, because it teaches me that I’m not in charge of everything. The world has its own pace, and I can either accept it and be in a good space, or I can be impatient and disgruntled. Sukha comes in the form of constant testing of my patience.
Practice sukha both on and off the mat
The difficult part about a yoga and meditation practice is taking it off the mat and into the world, where the real teachings happen. This is about being kind, being in a good space, and not listening to that old negative voice that says, “you’re not doing it right…” It used to be, I felt like I had to practice every day or else I’d be a faux yogi. Nowadays, I’m able to ease up and practice by immersing myself in the present moment while I’m cooking a meal, reading a good book, or playing with my dogs. Sukha comes in everyday moments of joy and ease.
Read more at YogaJournal.com…
How have you found sukha in your yoga practice – or your life? Share your thoughts in our Facebook community.