Do you ever feel like just sitting around? Well, there is a yoga pose for that: it’s called Sukhasana – Easy Seat or Comfortable Pose. If you regularly go to yoga classes, you most likely are familiar with this cross legged sitting position. Very often this pose is used at the beginning of a practice for tuning into the present moment. It can also be practiced more actively. After the aligning part I will show you some variations where Sukhasana will be the base for practice.
So let’s take a closer look at this Comfortable Pose – no slouching allowed though!
- Sit on your mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Now cross your legs at the center of the shins so that your feet are close to resting under the opposite knee. Let your feet rest on their outer edges – not on their tops – with the soles facing away from each other .
- With your hands move the buttocks flesh out from under the sitting bones.
- Take your thumbs to each frontal hip crease (where the front thigh meets the pelvis) and press down there to deepen the hip crease.
Let your index fingers guide your outer hips down toward the floor.
Now inhale to lift the chest and on an exhale hinge halfway forward from this frontal hip crease.
- Allow your shoulders to roll back and relax them down away from your neck.
- As your outer hips release down, lift your rib cage away from your hips so that you get length through the side body.
- Release your hands and place your fingers with palms down on the floor behind your hips. As you press the fingers into the floor, roll the upper arms out so you broaden across the upper chest. At the same time press the tips of your shoulder blades into the back and roll your collar bones up to the ceiling.
- Keep your chest lifted as you bring your trunk back to an upright position.
- Place your hands onto your thighs or bring your hands into prayer position in the front of your chest.
- Allow the tips of your ears to move back and up so that your chin now is parallel to the floor and the center of your ears are in line with your shoulders and outer hips.
- Keep your face and gaze soft.
- Continue to sit stable, comfortable and tall for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
- Extend your legs in front of you again and then cross your legs again but now with your opposite leg in the front position and repeat the pose.
Work in the pose:
- Keep sitting tall by moving your sacrum in and up (this prevents slouching in lower back)
- Relax your knees down
- Keep your chest lifted by moving the spine between the shoulder blades into the body (this prevents the rounding of the upper back) but also keep lifting the back ribs up (they tend to collapse down onto the back of the pelvis)
- Sit centered over your sitting bones (not in front or at back of them)
- Knees and front groins remain soft—no gripping
If your knees are higher than your hip joint, sit on one or more folded blankets. Sit on a height so that your hip joint and knees are in the same plane.
- If your back feels weak, either sit with your back against a wall or have your hands pressing into the floor next to your hips
- Parvatasana in Sukhasana (Bound Hand Pose in Easy Seat)
This variation allows you to work on lengthening the side body.
- Sukhasana with a forward fold.
In this variation hinge forward at the front hip crease and keep the front of the body as long as you can make it. (Don’t let your ears drop below your upper arms as this can cause you to round your upper back)
- Sukhasana with a sideways forward fold.
Extend your trunk sideways over your knee as you fold forward. (In this picture I could work a bit harder on extending my trunk more, it seems my upper back should round less)
- Sukhasana with a side bend.
For example if you side bend to the right, actively press your left hand into the floor to strongly ground your left sitting bone down and from there lengthen through the left side of your trunk. Keep rolling your chest toward the ceiling—not towards the floor.
- Sukhasana with twisting action.
Make sure you keep your hips stable in your twist.
- Yoga in Action: Preliminary Course by Geeta Iyengar, published by YOG, Mumbai, India, 2000
- The different variations and the prep work were inspired by the Iyengar classes I attend regularly
Katja Huiras is a 500 hr certified Yoga teacher who teaches alignment based yoga classes in the Lehigh Valley. In 2009 she was introduced to Iyengar Yoga and was intensely inspired by its method. Since then she regularly studies and practices with certified Iyengar Yoga teachers.