The keeping of your attention, your awareness to the back.

The grounding of the back foot, especially of the heel but also of the inner edge of the foot depends upon the activity of the leg, as always. The grounding of the foot depends always on what the leg is doing. And if the legs are not doing, if the back leg is not doing, then the back leg is going to bend and even if the back heel does not come off the floor, doesn’t actually leave the floor, it loses full contact with the floor, and then the spine is no longer being safely supported. And the going deeper into the bending of the front leg is punishing the spine. You can’t feel it because you are thinking about something else, which may be how difficult it is. How difficult it is is something else. Bending the leg doesn’t require any thought. It’s just happening like that. Your thought if you need to use it should be “am I grounding my foundation?”. But thought isn’t really necessary. Feeling is enough. Feeling is what tells you if your foot is grounded enough. Not thought. Thought might ask the question, but thought cannot answer the question.If the back foot becomes ungrounded, stability is compromised, lost. Stiram is not present and sukam cannot therefore be present no matter how easy you are taking it. No matter how much you are giving yourself a break from effort. Effort is not the point. Ease does not mean no effort. Ease means no tension. And there is a difference. Sukam refers to that. It doesn’t refer to doing the posture in the most lackadaisical line of least resistance way. This is not yoga. This is stretching to relax without regard to damage being done to the body. So you could say that your effort is directed primarily to stiram. To stability. Your effort is directed primarily to stabilising, grounding, securing your foundation. And then some action may be going on elsewhere to create freedom and ease. But it depends upon the effectiveness of you generating stability through your foundation.
So, to take another example, could be the same kind of posture but could be one in which you turn the pelvis and don’t bend the leg, the front leg. How much you turn the back foot depends on the capacity of your body. Or you could say how much you have to turn your back foot depends on the restrictions in your pelvis.

Likewise, whether or not you move the front foot to the side or not.

If you move the front foot a lot to the side you become more and more stable, but you become unable to release, you become stagnant, you drop downwards and there is no lift. But if you don’t more your right foot enough you can’t turn, you can’t release either. So the foot is moved not according to a geometrical measurement. The foot is moved according to stiram sukam to give you stiram sukam. And this is always the case, with every adjustment in every posture. You refine the shape of the posture into its true form and the true form of the posture is that wherein your body is being most deeply released by the posture. So you establish that true form which is always individual and always changing with the compass of stiram sukam.

So I don’t take you into the classical postures because you are not ready. You don’t have the body awareness; you don’t have the training in the muscles to safely do the classical postures. And if you do them as you do you will be hurting yourself as you actually already are in your yoga practice. But if you go step by step and you know how important it is to go step by step. If you go step by step you will know when you are ready for any action and the taking of any action will therefore only be beneficial. The taking of an action when you are not ready when you’re putting yourself into the weird strangeness of a yoga posture is bound to be harmful. No matter how much it may develop your strength, your pride. It is still nevertheless going to be harmful if you’re not ready for it. So little by little, step by step, life unfolds, like that. Yoga also.Patanjali’s definition of asana is this: Joyful steadiness in the body free from tension. 

Joyful steadiness in the body free from tension.

Stiram sukam, joyful steadiness.

Other way round. Steady joy. Stiram is steadiness. Sukam is tranquillity, ease, release, openness, effortlessness. So this is what you’re looking for. Not flexibility, not strength, not stamina. You’re looking to release the body from tension on the basis of establishing it in stiram sukam.

 

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