Last week, I used as a theme sukha — ease, comfort, happiness. I was inspired by Lorin Roche’s discussion of translating in his “version” of the Vijnana Bhairava, which he entitles “The Radiance Sutras.” In it he notes that “[e]ven more literally, sukha is (according to some etymologies) composed of su, good + kha, space. A good space.” At first blush, teaching about sukha might seem to be off-topic from my session theme of sequencing principles. The whole purpose, though, of seeking to understand, practice, and optimize our sequencing in time and space on and off the mat is to find just that. It is to be in a “good space,” to feel at ease, whether we are being challenged or delighted.
I found myself contemplating sukha yet further this week (it is a recurring practice and contemplation theme for me — I love Patanjali’s sutra “sthiram sukham asanam”), as I have been observing and helping the foster cats make mine their new home. When we are uprooted or out of alignment, we are not in a good space. It is a struggle to feel happy or at ease. When we find our rhythm again, then ease unfolds.
There is a set of principles that generally works for taking uprooted animals (or people) and helping them feel at home. Part of making them at home is their new person holding him/herself in a “good space” for the newcomers, which indeed helps them find their own, which is its own yoga.
The blessing of yoga for us, and why we take ourselves to challenging difficult places on the mat, is so that we can, by use of intelligent sequencing of practices, techniques, and mindsets, discover how to feel connected to our own spirit wherever we are in time and space — the essence of ease in this body and mind. The more we can do this for ourselves, the more we can do it for others.