I remember quite well when I heard this for the first time; it was in my teacher training and my only thought was: now she (my teacher) lost her mind.
I was sweating my heart out, my concentration at a peak, my muscles sore, my entire body a mess of tension. Ease? Really? I rather felt like made of concrete, ease was a term I wasn’t even dreaming of!
It took some time to get an idea of what this means, to find steadiness and same time ease in a posture. Stability and consistency without effort. When holding a posture, while being in correct alignment, there’s a certain moment when it feels just easy, almost like a relief! This is ease.
The best postures to understand the concept of steadiness and ease for me are headstand and handstand. There is this moment, when all of a sudden you feel weightless, your body is in every detail in the right alignment. As if you can stay forever in this posture, almost levitating.
This happens when it all comes together: concentration and an inward view through drishti (focus point), proper ujjayi breath, stability through activating the bandhas and correct alignment. For me it’s additionally about not thinking how to do a pose, but just do it.
Then your yoga starts.
Did you know, it’s named after the sage, Marichi, which means “ray of light” – isn’t it beautiful?
It is said to stimulate and calm the brain, while stretching the spine and shoulders. As one leg is placed in half lotus, it stimulates the colon and massages the abdominal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. Marichyasana B is associated with the manipura chakra and such a great posture for taking the attention and focus inwards.
These are the facts, however, for me it’s a pose to release. There are many different things to feel, a deep stretch here, a bit of pressure there, and I can feel my body slowly accepting and releasing. I’m facing steadiness and ease like in no other posture. Rather easy, but same time complex due to the combination of half lotus and binding.
Honestly, the only asana I breathe extra slow and sometimes I find myself counting and counting…. oh 5, yeah, it was 5 breath…. 🙂
Parivrtta Trikonasana — twisting, balancing, steady and comfortable. The union of sthira and sukha, effort and ease, hard and soft, expanding and contracting, ascending and descending, solar and lunar.
The moment you plant your hand next to your foot, you feel fully grounded. While same time your other arm reach up, your gaze follows. Deeply rooted, reaching for the sky — strong Ujjayi breath connects both, steadiness and ease.
Do you feel it too? Summer is gone in Europe and my body speaks loud to me, telling me to slow down, be mindful while adjusting to the changes. Well, getting more receptive to what’s going on around might be also a matter of age, what can I say? It’s hard staying young 😉
During this period of time, I feel my joints cracking, as if they ask to be lubrified. My hamstrings behave like the strings of a guitar with too much tension.
So, what to do? Embrace your body and its awesome capabilities! Accept where you are in this moment and adjust your practice. This is what I did this morning:
I turned on music. Yes, I’m practicing Ashtanga, so what! My favorite music made it easier to release and just flow. I have to admit, between Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha baddha padmottanasana I lost my focus and started dancing. I had a huge smile on my face, it all felt so right. It was ok. It’s MY practice. And my body found its rhythm, tuned in, opened and turned into its softness. It’s all about steadiness and ease isn’t it? So don’t be so hard on yourself and remember the second part, „ease“. Finding ease in our steadiness is the moment we start doing yoga.
All you need to do is listen to your body. Be aware and only do good to you. Hehe, this doesn’t mean shavasana only, well it might…. It’s your practice! Even being an Ashtangi might mean yin yoga for one day. If it feels right, it is right. Just show up, adjust your practice and get your blood flowing. And please, always keep a good sense of humor!
Practice steadiness and ease. Inner strength, but also soothing and sweet. How can this work? My view: it’s all about being kind to my body, instead of stressing it. Doing my best, challenging body and mind, by fully respecting my limitations that day, that moment. Listening to my body. Understanding if it’s just laziness, that makes the sofa calling me or my body sending signals on what is good or bad for me in that moment. Also fading out the self talk my mind is confusing me with. Gently. Accepting. Yes, tenderly.
Pushing and pulling seems rather violent and works the opposite direction, it takes us farther from ourselves. It is this deep connection with ourselves, our centre, that cultivates a confidence, which makes our practice and our lives magical and leaves us deeply touched and happy.
Care for yourself.