Coco Chanel is a woman whose strength, tenacity, and supreme belief in herself, I admire. Ms. Chanel once said “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” This is also true of yoga: without alertness and comfort, Sthira and Sukha, in our asana practice, it is not yoga. Sthira is steadiness and alertness and Sukha is comfort.
In a yoga practice, both qualities must be in balance and present. When we hold a posture and think about how our knees hurt or can’t wait to move into the next posture, we are not in a state of comfort — there is no Sukha present. Instead of practicing yoga, we were practicing a form of self-torture. If we are in posture and so comfortable that our mind drifts to what we just ate or fantasize about our latest crush, Sthira, alertness, is not present. This is not yoga, but daydreaming.
To find the perfect balance of Sthira and Sukha in your practice, move through breath and kramas (or stages) of each pose. Learn to listen to your breath, join breath and movement — remember breath is the link between the internal and external body. Also, be mindful of where you are TODAY — note any stiffness or openness and back off or go deeper into a pose as necessary. Most important to remember, is the honor that you have the luxury of yoga in your day, in your life.