I’ve been writing these articles to inspire people to try some yoga, to see poses, and maybe try them at home. My goal has been to inspire you to see something, try it in the comfort of your home, and maybe gain the courage to go to a yoga class.
Yoga has many interesting looking postures. It helps build strength and increase flexibility. It is recommended for stress relief and, depending on the yoga, can help you sleep better. For me, yoga has taught me how to fully breathe while in a physical posture that is uncomfortable. The analogy being if you can fully breathe while in this unfamiliar posture, you can fully breathe when life tosses you into unfamiliar territory. The breath is where the mind/body connection happens. Being aware of what your body is feeling, tuning in to the sweet sound of your rhythmic breath, understanding the difference between pain and sensation, pulling back from a posture when it is too much, or allowing your body to deepen into a pose – yoga reminds us to feel and live in this very moment.
I picked the posture sukhasana, or easy pose, because it is the posture we need right now. Easy pose is deceptively simple. It is sitting, poised, yet soft, and tuning in and listening. Right now, we need to be able to breathe through the storm; we need to practice how to sit with ourselves and listen to what is happening within.
It is easy to still the body but much harder to still the mind. Easy pose is not immediately about stilling the mind. It is about paying attention to what the mind chatter is, listening to one thought at a time, and with time and practice, that listening, that tuning-in reduces the mind chatter and promotes a stillness in the mind.
- Get a rolled blanket, block, or meditation pillow – otherwise known as a “prop.” Although a prop is not necessary, it aids in discomfort in your hips, knees, or back.
- Sit cross-legged on your prop.
- Sit with your spine upright, as if on a throne, but with a soft and gentle heart.
- Allow the chin to slightly tuck, to elongate the back of the neck.
- Let the eyes close.
- Place your hands in your lap or on your knees. You may opt for a mudra, or specific hand gesture, by placing your index finger and thumb lightly touching while the other fingers rest.
- Stay for a minute listening to your breath. Over time, build up to 20 minutes (or more) sitting in easy pose.
As you practice easy pose, start with a minute. Our mind has many thoughts; our body has countless sensations in one minute. Give yourself the task of tuning into one thought or sensation at a time and fully experience it. Practice daily and notice how the mind and body begin to learn how to still, calm, and quiet down.
Photos by Michael Foote