Sukhasana or “easy pose” comes from the Sanskrit words sukha meaning “pleasure” and asana meaning “posture” or “seat”. It is a pose that facilitates open hips, a strong spine, feelings of being grounded, and a sense of ease. As such it is touted as one of the best poses for meditation. Now, granted some would say that this “easy pose” is NOT easy at all. And, at first, it probably isn’t for most of us. But, with regular and persistent practice, it can become your foundational pose for sitting still in quiet meditation.
In yoga philosophy, when you come into any pose you are seeking steadiness (feeling rooted, grounded, connected) with ease (relaxed attention). Sukhasana or “easy pose” is the perfect pose to bring you just that. It can bring you “home” or back to yourself… to present centered awareness.
In order to practice sukhasana for meditation, here are some simple steps that you can follow to help you to feel it’s inherent steadiness and ease.
Step 1: Sit on the edge of a folded blanket with your left or right heel pressed in toward your groin, knee bent and thigh rotating out with the other foot directly in front thigh oriented the same. You can adjust how close the feet pull in based upon your level of flexibility and how your hips and knees feel in the form. Don’t ever sacrifice your body for the sake of the pose.
Step 2: Make sure that your pelvis tilts forward and the natural curve of your low back is present. You can even rotate your pelvis forward and back a few times to encourage mobility… an oiling of the joints of sorts, and come to rest with a forward tilt. You should be on top of or forward of your ischial tuberosities… aka “sitting bones”.
Step 3: You want to allow your thighs to externally rotate as the lateral edges of the thighs move toward the ground for stability. Your knees should be lower than you hips. If not, add a blanket or two so that you are higher up from the ground and have more space to relax into. You can also add supports under your thighs for comfort. Take the time to breathe deeply thus encouraging the relaxation response. Give your tension permission to move out and away from your body.
Step 4: Think about softening anything that is touching the blanket and the floor or other props and intend these places to melt down into the support of the earth and expand outward. This is the way to feel steady in the pose. Know that the earth supports you as well as the space around you.
Step 5: From this feeling of connection and support, lengthen the waist up out of the hips, expand the ribs front to back and side to side, broaden across the chest and back, soften the shoulders and let the head float up toward the sky as if filled with helium. The bottom of the chin should be parallel to the ground or you can slightly tuck the chin to keep the back neck long. Take care that the head does not sheer forward. Think about resting in the back of the body which will actually help you to be more poised in the center of your being. This gives a sense of ease or being light.
Step 6: Breathe in and think about creating length and space, breathe out and lengthen your spine moving deeper into the space you have just created.
Step 7: Sit still in quiet meditation. Allow yourself to just be here now. Watch what comes up without much ado. Breathe in and know you are breathing in, breathe out and know you are breathing out.
If you come to this seat daily for any amount of time, you will soon find the steadiness and ease that this pose will bring. Remember that any amount of practice is not wasted.
Sitting formally in this elegant yet simple pose while watching your breath come and go with present centered awareness is a form of mindful meditation that can bring you a strong sense of peace and calm as well as connection to our Mother Earth and Father Sky. This, then, you can take informally into more moments of your day. You will be surprised at how much deeper you touch life as your daily practice grows.
This is “easy pose”.