Sthira and sukha: the art and science of stalking balance
Updated: Sep 25
How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me? Leonard Cohen
Ganesha is discovered enjoying the daisies in the suddenly wild jungle outback on this autumn equinox, which, falling on a Saturday, sees temperatures rise to warm mid nineties and no paddling for me. Saturdays are market days. It just happens too that there's a fee free fishing weekend at both my lakes making for less than peaceful settings, even at dawn, to raise a paddle in honour of this particular sun, moon and starry alignment.
I can't help but notice the effusion of golden yellow Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) dominating the northern outback boundary line in just one example of the effect of last week's lovely rain on the garden. Give this desert earth just a hint of rain and it responds with an excess of exuberant growth. There's not a lot of balance here in the desert but rather an irony of seasonal extremes.
Coincidentally (or not) today my yogic philosophy studies ask me to examine Patanjali's yoga sutra 2.46 “sthira-sukham asanam” usually translated as "The yoga posture is stable and comfortable "
It's not perfection we strive for but the ability to move through this life with a steadiness and ease.
As the sand runs through the hourglass of this inheritance, it's a striving for the middle way, the way of balance.
My mind continues to chase after the sparkly yet elusive thing that is balance as I prepare to join my mat to work on my Vrikshasana (tree) and Natarajasana (dancer).
I have practiced Vrikshasana and Natarajasana for over fifty years, indoors and out, on beaches, riverbanks, mountains, besides lakes, in campsites, backyards, houses, basements, rooftops and ashrams all over the world, and still some days I find ease and know the true meaning of sutra 2.46 - sthira-sukham asanam - and some days I wobble all over the place and just cannot achieve even a split second of balance.
Like the desert I currently inhabit, my pendulum swings to extremes. Taming those swings is the challenge of my dharma, my artha, my yoga: the path of release in the binding which was chosen for me to walk.
Each day I start at the beginning. Again. Stalking balance.
May every sentient being experience equinoctial blessings of balance, comfort and ease. That means you, too.