Suzuki Roshi talks about ‘right effort’ which also relates to our yoga philosophy of sthira & sukha – stability with ease.
“If your practice is good, you may become proud of it. What you do is good but something more is added to it. Pride is extra. Right effort is to get rid of something extra. . . . Practice with no gaining idea . . Usually when you do something, you want to achieve something, you attach to some result. If you do something in the spirit of non-achievement, there is a good quality in it .. . your practice is pure. . By purity we mean things as they are.”
Ties in with last week’s focus of balance and also relates well to the yoga sutras. In the yoga sutras Patanjali describes asana (our yoga poses) as sthira and sukha – sthira steady and stable; sukha easeful or ‘good space’, comfortable. These are the qualities we bring to our asana practice – keeping our physical body steady and stable in the pose, and with ease – not being forceful or striving. This idea of right effort. Without pride or any ideas of gaining. Simply becoming steady in the pose, with a sense of ease, good space in the posture. Having steadiness in your pose before increasing flexibility and sitting at the edge of resistance before stretching further. When we practice this way we keep our bodies safe. And it’s not about pushing yourself but rather listening.
We first come in to a steady and easy position (asana) and then release into the pose, gently stretching & lengthening muscles around the joints, creating some space in the joints for good blood flow and synovial fluid lubrication, supporting healthy movement in your joints and easing inflammation. Keeping steady but with ease, not strain. No pride, no egos!
Self-enquiry: Am I pushing too hard, striving, at the moment? Can I let go of the expectations I’m putting on myself.
Resolving this week to bring some sthira and sukha to your day – steadiness & stability with ease & good space, comfort.