Honor Your Current State: Sthira Sukham Asanam / Right Effort

  • In order to practice Right Effort, we begin with awareness and honor of ourselves as unique individuals living in a specific time in our lives.
  • With this awareness, we practice in response to such considerations as our age and phase of life, the season, time of day, current stress level, emotional state and current health.
  • Such practice requires that we notice thoughts or voices in our head during practice, listening with compassion and avoiding a need to push or force change.
  • “Teach your students to listen to their body, instead of telling them to.” (Kathryn Heagberg)


Being Here Where I Am, Accepting Myself

Moving to the other side [in Gomukhasana] —whoa! A different story… I’ve got sticking-out shoulder blades and the back of my hand is between them. I’m imperfect. My elbow wants to stay out to the side and not come to center like the other one did. I’m hearing old voices. I’m feeling an empty space back there behind my heart—the times of rejecting the imperfect body. I’m listening. I’m offering. I’m only human. Something wants to push, to force change but I am being gentle. Gentleness is my offering in this moment. I’m feeling stretched, observing what I hold onto and what I can let go. I’m being here, where I am, accepting myself. This is the offering. – Swami Lalitananda

“Listen to Your Body” vs “Honor Your Body”

Next to ¨remember to breathe,” “listen to your body” might just be the most oft-repeated phrase in all of Western yogadom, and I think it needs addressing… An uneducated body says some silly stuff and “honor your body” is probably a better choice of words… Sometimes honoring your body means doing things you’d really rather not. Plus, this instruction can seem especially vague or frustrating to newer students and/or those that really want a little more guidance or instruction. Teach your students to listen to their bodies, instead of telling them to. – Kathryn Heagberg