STHIRA AND SUKHA
Every Yoga pose and movement is an opportunity to create a greater relationship with yourself, and to guide your students towards doing the same. It is important to note that the postures will be different for every student due to the amazing variety of movement potential each individual has.
As an instructor, you have the opportunity to see the characteristics of the student’s body structure and make a guided decision towards a posture that is beneficial for them. Also, it is important for the student to intentionally bring awareness into their own mind so they can develop movement leadership, somatic longevity, and mental flexibility as well.
There are two general guidelines that students can follow during their own introspection of the posture experience: Sthira and Sukha.
Sthira and Sukha are two Sanskrit concepts from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
In Sutra 2.46, it states “Asana (posture) is a steady, comfortable posture.”
Sthira is a Sanskrit word that means to have steadiness and stability.
Sukha is a Sanskrit word that means “with ease and comfort.”
Yoga postures must be both steady and comfortable, then the student has earned success within the posture. This is important because it allows students to tune into the present moment of sensation within their body, and gives them the opportunity to become capable of directing their movement in the direction they know will be best.
Steadiness and stability in a posture represent a strong neuromuscular connection and ability to engage and strengthen the tissue used in a movement, contributing to the overall functional foundation of their body mechanics.
Additionally, comfort and ease in a posture represent the mental aspect and ability to stay focused and in a balanced state, not overly controlled by emotions.
Sthira and Sukha can be applied as guidelines for the student to understand their experience of the posture.
By using verbal cues guiding toward both Sthira and Sukha, you can direct your students to help transform their Yoga practice towards one with more introspection and speculation.
If there is discomfort or panic in a posture, it could be a somatic communication of a range of motion not currently accepted by the student’s nervous system, and moving into a more comfortable, neutral posture will be a good idea!
The outcome is for your students to move (quite literally) towards their goals, and by increasing their own personal body experience and awareness, they will earn knowledge that will allow them to continue on the path of those goals.
For more information, check out the Sport Yoga Certification Course.