Common misalignment: Rounded back or flexed back. Knees raised high off the ground.
Remedy: Sit up on something to level the pelvis. Block under knees.
Benefits: Stretches hips, ankles and knees, strengthens back.
For many years I avoided this posture because I found it uncomfortable and I thought by using props it would make me look weak, or incapable. Coming from a “no pain no gain” mindset, if I did have to do it, I would force myself into it and hear the mind chattering away anxiously waiting for the teacher to say when we could move into the next posture. Needless to say, this is the exact opposite of what yoga is about and the posture itself. It is no coincidence that the word ASANA translates to a steady comfortable posture1. The word SUKAH means happiness, comfort2.
If you are having trouble keeping a straight back or sitting comfortably then I encourage you to elevate the hips with a blanket, pillow or block to aid in releasing the hips and lower back. Also, sitting up against a wall will assist to help lengthen the spine until it becomes strong enough to sit easily by itself. You can also use blocks under the knees, if you need the extra support. Shoulders are staked over hips and the lumbar curve is then settled in to a natural curve to enable you to sit with a straight back comfortably.
After 7 years of practicing, I still sit on a block or bolster. Props should never be seen as a way out or easy option, but rather an extension of us to enable ease and create space to quiet down the mind so that we can access the posture and not avoid it. You cannot possibly do this, when your mind is chatting to you about what is hurting, aching or wondering when you might be moving out of this posture. It’s not heart surgery people, make any adjustments or modifications that you need so that you can do what the pose name tells you “comfortable easy posture”.
1) Satchidananda, S. (2014) The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (3rd ed). Virginia, Integral Yoga Publications.
2) MettaNet. (2003) BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.budsas.org/ebud/dict-pe/dictpe-25-s.htm
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