I was just starting my Yoga workout one morning not too long ago when I was reminded of a word that I wanted to learn more about.
I really like the Yoga With Adrienne channel on YouTube.
Her Yoga makes me feel like I’m getting in a good workout without being super hard on my body. She just a great balance of serious yoga and let’s not push it yoga. Know what I mean?
Anyway, I was starting one of her workouts when she started talking about Sukha.
That’s spelled S U K H A. I had to look it up cuz that wasn’t my first guess on how to spell it.
The interesting thing is that the entire workout was Sukha, which made me really uncomfortable.
I had the hardest time not wanting to stop not too long into the workout because it felt uncomfortable taking 30 minutes of my morning and all she was having us do was lightly stretching and breathing.
That’s an example of what Sukha is and I wanted to talk more about that on this episode today and use it to help us with our goal of becoming Overburdened No More.
What is Sukha?
I looked it up in a few different places just in case there was more to it than the Yoga definition.
Adrienne of Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube said that it’s:
“Using your breath to tell your brain that it’s ok to shift gears.”
I’ll put the link for this workout in the show notes if you’re interested.
She also said the opposite is Steadiness, strength, support with the core, and that’s called Sthira (Sstheera)
so the Opposite of that is : softness and easiness which is Sukha. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
In Pāli Canon,, which I also had to look up, which is the Buddist Scripture says that Sukha is:
Referring to “well-being and happiness” in either this present life or future lives. In addition, it is a technical term associated with describing a factor of meditation which counteracts restlessness or worry.
It is a Sanskrit word which I also had to look up. I’ve heard Sanskrit used by Deepok Chopra and wondered what it was exactly.
Sanskrit is a classical language from South Asia. It is the sacred language of Hinduism and of historical Buddhism texts.
I like the way this language is used in Deepok Chopra’s Abundance Meditations I told you about in Episode 62 of this podcast. That’s about the extent I use it, but I thought it was interesting to add a bit to my understanding of it.
So, back to Sukha and why I wanted to talk about it.
Another definition of Sukha that I found in the Yoga Journal that really defines how I connected with it the most was:
“Embracing where we are and reminding ourselves that it can be found everywhere.”
Each pose in yoga should have an equal amount of Sthira (Sstheera), which is steadiness, and Sukha, which is ease and joy.
Is there a way to find this same balance in our life.
I’d like to say Yes…there is.
If we look past instant gratification or easy answers, I think it’s possible.
Things take time.
Look at the world around us as an example of this.
Growth in nature takes time and no one is telling it to hurry.
We all know that it is what it is.
Can we do that for ourselves?
Learning to allow things to happen as they naturally do, takes a balance of Suka and Sthira. Ease and Steadiness.
While things sometimes feel anything but easy, even within that, we can feel support and softness as we move through it.
How can you invite more Sukha into your daily grind of life.
(As a side note, stop calling it a grind. That’s not helping anything.)
#1: Breathe Deeply.
This is SO huge.
We take breathing for granted.
But all breath is NOT created equal.
When you slow down your breathing, when you feel your belly move in and out, when you relax your shoulders away from your ears, loosen the grip you’re holding onto in your jaw and soften the skin of your face… it’s a different kind of breath.
Try it with me.
If you can possibly do this with your mouth closed, do it.
As a life-long mouth breather, I know this isn’t easy for some.
Try it anyway.
Close your eyes. Keep them closed until I tell you to open them.
Don’t worry, it won’t take very long.
If you can close the door so you won’t be disturbed, even better.
Put your hands in your lap.
Focus on your shoulders. Are they close to your ears?
Try gently pushing them down with the muscles in your shoulders. Feel your elbows getting heavy. Notice the difference.
Now, turn your attention to your jaw. That space between your chin and your ears.
Are your teeth touching. Relax the jaw line down so they’re not.
Feel the difference.
Next, notice the skin on your face. Is it tight or loose?
Do what you can to loosen it.
Think about relaxing the wrinkles anywhere on your face.
Sometimes when I do this part, I feel my eyes kind of move back in my head. Not much, but just a little.
How does that feel?
Now that you are more relaxed, we can turn our attention to our breath.
Take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose.
Pay attention to your body.
Does your stomach puff out?
Do your ribs expand?
Do you feel it the most in your nostrils?
Doesn’t matter which of those places you feel your breath the strongest, just move your attention to where ever you’re feeling it when you breathe in.
Hold that breath at the top of your breath, for the count of four, trying to keep the shoulders, jaw and skin relaxed as you hold it.
Now gently let the breath out through your nostrils as slowly as you can, letting it all go.
When there’s no air left, hold that for the count of four, still relaxing all our points.
OK. Go ahead and open your eyes and breath regularly.
That’s the first way that you can begin to experience Sukha. Through your breath.
Nothing calms down a racing mind or an anxious body like this type of breathing.
Repeat it over and over again until you feel your heart rate and mind chatter slow down.
When I fall asleep at night, I use this type of breathing.
I have been practicing breath in meditation and yoga for a few years now and above anything else it’s done for me, it’s helped me to be better able to fall asleep at night. I concentrate on my breath and find the parts of my body that are tense and focus on relaxing them. It’s not always my jaw or my shoulders or my face, it can be my legs or my back.
Try it and see where you’re holding tension.
Let’s move onto the next way you can invite more Sukha into your life:
#2: Be Patient
We all suffer from different ways that we find hard to be patient.
I want the people around me to do things on my timeline.
I want answers to questions, yesterday.
I want to avoid discomfort and just solve the problems before they happen.
All this is, is creating an expectation on something you have no control over.
Things happen at their own pace.
Worrying and stressing about it doesn’t help it happen faster, in fact, as you probably already know, it has the opposite effect.
Sukha can help you find ease in the waiting.
And #3: Practice Sukha Without Judging Yourself
You’re going to be bad at it.
This isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling but without judgement.
When you start judging yourself, the Sukha is gone. Judgement is the opposite ease.
Part of Sukha is giving yourself the time just to pay attention and be honest about how you’re doing.
When you’re doing well, acknowledge that.
Tell yourself, “Good Job!” No one else is likely to notice and you shouldn’t expect them too. Besides it’s annoying to someone who is feeling Sthira, to be told to relax.
I’m not the expert on any of these things I’m sharing today, but I am a student of them.
I’m excited to keep learning about them with you and growing and getting better at letting my burdens go.
One of the best ways I have let go of the things that burden me has been through creating a morning routine that sets me up to focus on my purpose.
I teach that morning routine in Camp Connection.
I want more people to experience the benefits of Camp Connection and the tools in the First-aid Kit I teach in the workshop.
I want to share a discount code with my listeners here on the podcast today because I am so grateful for you and your support of my show.
So, when you go to register for Camp Connection, which you can find at www.hunkeedori.com/CCCourse, enter the code…EPISODE85, and get $25off. All caps and all one word. I’ll put all of that in the show notes to make it easy for you to find.
While you’re looking at the show notes, take a second and leave me a review for this podcast.
Thanks in advance!
Thanks for joining me here today and remember:
I see you. I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.
Here’s the Yoga with Adrienne video I reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WLVkyf2Ojg