If you find “Easy Pose” is not that easy after all, here are some helpful tips…
If you’ve ever taken any yoga class of any kind, no doubt you’ve been introduced to Easy Pose (Sukhasana). This basic seated pose may very well be the most foundational and universally practiced yoga pose – and it has been practiced for thousands of years. Easy Pose (also sometimes called “Simple Cross-Legged Pose,” is intended to be comfortable, grounding, and calming. It is often used during meditation and breathing exercises, as an alternative to Lotus Pose, which requires more hip flexibility.
However, if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself rolling your eyes at the term “Easy Pose!” Unfortunately, humans in the modern world spend so much time seated in chairs that they lose the hip flexibility needed for the comfortable practice of Easy Pose. If you have tight hips, this pose may be anything but easy for you, and you may find yourself feeling frustrated at trying to make it feel that way. However, this just means it is more important than ever to practice Sukhasana regularly!
If you have trouble with Easy Pose, try the modifications and variations suggested below. Try to get into the pose several times per day, and eventually, your hips should begin to loosen and open up into the correct alignment.
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Note: Avoid this pose if you have a knee injury, and be careful not to force the pose.
How to Do Easy Pose:
- Sit on the edge of a firm blanket. Extend your legs in front of your body and sit up straight in Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana). Then, cross your legs in front of you at the shins.
- With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Fold your legs in toward your torso.
- Place your hands on your knees, palms down.
- Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs.
- Gaze straight ahead with soft eyes.
- Hold for up to one minute or for the duration of your meditation or pranayama practice.
- Release and change the cross of your legs.
Modifications & Variations:
Keep in mind the meaning of the name as you practice: Easy Pose. Since it’s so important to be comfortable in this position, make whatever modifications you need to feel steady, safe, and supported in the pose. Here are a few suggestions:
- If your hips are tight, do not sit flat on the floor! Prop yourself up on a blanket, two blankets, a bolster, a block, or a meditation pillow. Lifting your hips above the level of your knees will greatly reduce stress and discomfort in your hips, knees, and back. It will also open your groins even further and bring your spine into correct alignment, which will help you to stay in the position for much longer periods.
- Experiment with various heights of support to find the one that is most appropriate for you.
- For those with extremely tight hips, practice the pose seated in a chair. Leaving one foot flat on the floor, cross the opposite ankle over the knee of the grounded foot. Hold the pose for up to one minute, then repeat on the opposite side.
- For more back support, sit with your back against a wall. Another variation is to place a yoga block between the wall and your shoulder blades.
- If you are practicing a mudra as part of your meditation, you can bring your hands into the correct position instead of resting them on your thighs.
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