With You I Breathe: a forty day yoga column
#5: Easy Pose, Not Always So Easy
Easy pose is usually the pose with which we begin and end a yoga class. The pose is a seated position that is similar to sitting “Indian style.” In easy pose, the student sits cross legged, with the pelvis in a neutral position and the knees below the hips. The spine is straight and the shoulders are rolled back, while the chin is tucked in slightly. The hands can be placed on the knees, palms facing up or palms facing down.
In easy pose, students have the opportunity to experience their internal reality or more simply, check in with what’s going on: physically, as well as emotionally. Which is why it’s a good pose with which to begin and end class. The student has the opportunity to observe how she feels before and after class.
The sanskrit name is Sukhasana and in English we call this pose “easy pose” but the pose is not always so easy for people. For example, seniors sometimes cannot sit comfortably cross legged on the floor, which is why using a chair is great. Seniors can sit in a chair and still reap the benefits of the posture.
When I first began yoga, easy pose was not easy for me because my hips were tight, which is common enough in beginning students. In beginner classes, sometimes I see students who sit in easy pose with their knees above the hips, which is something you want to avoid.
If you find that you are sitting in easy pose and your knees are above your hips, there’s a quick solution. Grab a couple blankets–or a bolster and sit on them. Once you prop yourself onto the blankets or bolster, your knees will lower. Oftentimes studios will have props like blankets, bolsters, blocks, and straps, which help students experience the benefits of the poses. Studios provide the props and teachers encourage the use of these props because yoga is about adapting poses to meet the student’s unique needs.