Sthira Sukham Asanam.
Yoga is a steady, comfortable posture.
– Yoga Sutra II:46
What we need is the strength of steel, but with steel’s flexibility – not like crude iron, which is very strong and hard but breaks. The body must be so supple it can bend any way you want it to. Such a body will always be healthy and tension-free. The moment we sit down for meditation in such a body, we’ll forget it. This is why Hatha Yoga was created.
(The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated from the Sanskrit by Sri Swami Satchidananda)
At each year’s end, weeks of frenzied, stressful preparation to buy perfect gifts, scribble out holiday cards, and decorate cookies and trees and entryways culminate in traveling through snowstorms to be with our people, with whom we have loving but complicated histories. This frenetic experience is amplified by emotions, sugar, and drinking. Then we crash, and crash hard, from exhaustion and too-full bellies and messed up timezones. By January, we’re no longer steady nor comfortable, like Patanjali hopes for us in Sutra II:46.
The good news is this: January is all about starting over. Aren’t you all getting as bombarded as I am with emails and ads about detoxing, cleansing, dieting, gym-joining, life-changing? But here’s what we know about going from one extreme to the other: it doesn’t last. Balance, right smack dab in the center of things, is the answer.
So herein lies the mantra of January 2012, courtesy of Oscar Wilde: Everything in moderation. Including moderation. If you’re a resolution maker, make a few simple ones. Go back to your pre-holiday meals; add a few extra vegetables. Walk more. Be nice to yourself. Most importantly, know that if you’re really changing your life, change is slow, quiet, hard. Sthira sukham asanam: yoga is a steady, comfortable posture.
Go forth, into 2012, with steadiness and comfort: they promise real, lasting change.