Sukhasana (Easy Pose): Steps, Breathing, Meditation

Sukhasana (Easy Pose): Steps, Breathing, Meditation - sharpmuscle
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Updated: April 27, 2023

Sukhasana (Easy Pose) is a great way to build your foundation of breathing and meditation practice. The easiest meditation pose for beginners is Sukhasana, aso known as a “tailor seat” or “comfortable posture”, this basic cross-legged seated posture is often used during meditation or breathing exercises.

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As a beginner, this asana will help to strengthen your back as well as stretch your ankles and knees. It will also open your hips and help bring your spine in perfect alignment, which automatically reduces stress and anxiety.

You may wish to sit on a folded blanket or cushion to lower your knees from your hips, to maintain a proper lower curve, and to ensure that your spine remains straight and elongated.

Information

Known as:Sukhasana, Easy Pose, Pleasant Pose, Decent Post, Comfort Pose
Sanskrit name:सुखासन
IAST:Sukhāsana
Pronunciation:Soo-khah-san-ah
Level:Beginner
Type:Sitting, Restorative, Meditative, Pranayama
Total time:More than 5 minutes
Drishti:Forward;
Eye closed
Chakra:Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Focus:Spine
Indications:Strengthens the back, stretches the knees and ankles, calms the brain
Counterposes:Cow-Cat Stretch (Chakravakasana), Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Preparatory poses:Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana), Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana), Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)
Follow-up poses:Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana), Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Contraindications:Knee injury or ankle injuries, Low back pain, Pregnancy, High blood pressure or vertigo

Meaning + Origin

The Sukhasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Sukha + Asana:

  1. Sukha” = “easy or comfortable or joy”
  2. Asana” = “pose or posture”

50 years ago, Indian people commonly used Sukhasana for sitting, eating and other daily activities, but not as a yoga practice. So it is very easy for them to perform. Maybe, that is why this asana gets the name of Easy Pose in English.

Still, it’s not that easy for a Westerner who has little experience with sitting cross-legged. Due to the influence of western culture in India, it has become difficult for Indians as well.

Step-by-step Instructions of Sukhasana

Step 1:

  • Start in the staff pose (dandasana), with both legs extended in front of you. Grab your seated bones and pull the flesh back to lengthen your legs and spine. Your spine is long. Your arms rest with your arms. The shoulders are away from the ears.
  • Sit in a cross-legged position so that the arches of your feet are located outside your calf muscles. You can comfortably sit in a chair in the pose (Sukhasana), the Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana), or the Full Lotus (Padmasana).
  • Your right leg should be below the left knee, and your left leg should be below the right knee.
  • Push your spine bones into the ground as you extend through the spine. Raise the crown of your head to the sky.
  • Place one hand on top of the other and touch the thumb lightly. Close your eyes slowly.
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Step 2: Breathing and Meditation

Perform 1: 4: 2 healing breath Zen meditation as follows:

Inhale for a count of 4 and feel your lower abdomen expand as you exhale it. Hold and maintain air in your lungs for a count of 16. Exhale for a count of 8 as you press the back button to the spine.

Imagine the numbers during the set. This will help develop what’s called “one-pointed concentration”. Your breath should be so good that it does not rub a feather. Each count must be one second long.

After 10 breath cycles, the exercise ceases. In an authentic yoga practice, the ego cannot be allowed to enter the process. Do not “perform” exercises as if you have an appreciative listener.

This is your personal journey. See and express yourself when you have amazing physical and mental benefits.

This breathing technique is called abdominal breathing and should be maintained throughout the yoga practice.

Asana Siddhi and Beginner Tip:

Asana Siddhi means mastering the posture. For any asana, if a physician maintains the correct posture for a period of three consecutive hours, he or she has mastered posture.

In this position, you cross your legs as you normally sit on the floor. The spine and neck should be straight but relaxed, without any stretch.

Due to the position of the feet, it can be a little harder to achieve in euphoria. So it will be much easier to keep your back straight if your butt is sitting on a cushion two or three inches on the ground. Otherwise, if you can manage it, your back will feel more comfortable, and you will be able to keep your spine straight for longer if you can sit in some more advanced meditation postures, such as the lotus position.

Your hands should rest in a posture with the index finger resting on the inside of the thumb, forming a circle, and the other three fingers extended but relaxed. The palms may be either upward or downward, resting on the knees, hands forward and elbows slightly bent.

Tilt your head slightly forward. You can keep your eyes open or closed. If you keep your eyes open, allow them to rest at one point. Five feet in front of you in an empty space, your gaze relaxed and deformed.

Step-by-step Anatomy Engaging Techniques

Step-1

  • Activate your psoas muscles by pressing down on your knees while trying to raise them. It produces a closed chain contraction, so that the origin of your psoas moves (not insertion), lifting your lumbar and tilting your pelvis forward. It synergizes the action of your quadratus lumborum on your lumbar spine.
  • Imagine your sartorius contracting to flex, abduct, and externally rotate your hips. This muscle also hels your psoas in tilting your pelvis forward.

Step-2

Bend your knees by engaging your hamstrings. We relax these muscles once in the pose but occasionally come back to them to refine the position of our feet and to re-establish the uniformity of our knee joints.

Step-3

  • Your tensor fascia latae and gluteus medius are activated to drive your thighs toward the floor. Note that these muscles are the internal rotators of your hips.
  • Sukhasana (Easy Pose) externally rotates your hips. Accordingly, prepare for the pose by stretching your tensor fascia latae and gluteus medius to lengthen your internal rotation components.
  • Then engage those same muscles to abduct your hips.
  • Tuck your tailbone in while turning your thighs out to engage the deep outer hip rotator.
  • Refine the pose by gently pressing the outer edges of your feet into the mat. It activates your peroneus longus and brevis muscles on the sides of your lower legs.
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Step-4

  • Place your hands on your knees and turn your palms down to pronate your forearms, engaging your pronator teres and quadratus.
  • Contract your triceps to try to straighten your elbows.
  • Engage your infraspinatus and minor muscles to externally rotate your shoulders. Your posterior deltoids coordinate this action.
  • Then pull with your hands to draw your chest forward, activating your latissimus dorsi in a closed chain fashion.

Step-5

Draw your shoulder blades toward the midline by contracting your rhomboids. It opens up your chest and stabilizes your scapulae in place to prepare for Step-6. Activate your lower third of the trapezius to draw your shoulder blades down the back.

Step-6

  • Stabilize your scapulae toward the midline of your back.
  • Then lift your ribcage by engaging your pectoralis minor. The cue for activating this muscle is to attempt to roll your shoulders forward. Because your shoulders are fixed in place by your rhomboids, they will not actually roll forward.
  • Instead, the contraction of your pectoralis minor lifts your ribs and opens your chest.
  • Expand your chest further by engaging your serratus anterior.
  • Note how this muscle also originates from your scapula and attaches to your ribs (like pectoralis minor).
  • Accordingly, when your scapulae are tethered in place by your rhomboids, engaging your serratus anterior lifts and expands your chest. The cue for contracting this muscle is to visualize pressing your hands outward against a door frame.

Modifying Sukhasana (Easy pose)

While it is called easy pose (Sukhasana), it is not always easy for everyone. If you take yoga as part of a class, ask your instructor to help you modify this situation so that you can make the most of it and avoid getting hurt.

Depending on the bone structure in your hips, this might be fairly difficult, but do not fret, because there is a modification for you. To help ease the pose, sit on something that raises your hips. This can be a bolster, blanket, or pillow or two.

Fix common mistakes of practicing Sukhasana (Easy pose)

Sukhasana is a very straight pose, but involves many parts of the body. To get the most out of the posture, and to avoid discomfort and potential injuries, try these tips to correct the situation.

1. Upper back and neck mistake

Sukhasana can put pressure on your neck or upper back by tilting or tilting your chin forward.

Fix:
  • Lift the breast up and think in terms of keeping your shoulders away from each other (but not too far back).
  • Imagine pulling your chin towards the front of your neck and gently pulling it upwards towards the back of your neck.

2. lumbar spine mistake

In this situation, you may have a tendency to turn your lower back inward (such as in the backbend), or outward (itching your back). Both can stress the spine.

Fix:

If your back is bent inward, imagine moving your tailbone down towards the floor. This will make your pelvis bend back slightly and the lumbar spine will be straightened.

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If your back is bent outward, try gently bending the pelvic waist forward. Placing a blanket or block under the buttocks so that the hips are slightly raised makes it easier for some people to bend forward enough to sit with the pelvis.

3. Leg mistake

Sitting in Sukhasana can, in some cases, restrict circulation within the legs. This is something to be especially aware of if you already have a condition that compromises circulation, such as varicose veins or edema, or if you are pregnant. Signs of restricted circulation include numbness in the legs and feet or a pin-and-needles sensation.

Fix:
  • Do not drag your feet too close to your pelvis. Keeping them away will prevent your knees from bending too much. Sitting on some cushions can also prevent your knees from bending excessively.
  • Do not stay in this position for too long
  • Consider an alternate pose, such as staff pose (dandasana)

4. Hips mistake

If your hips are not that flexible, you cannot keep your knees close to the ground. It can affect asanas and strain your spine.

Fix:
  • Place a yoga block or blanket under your buttocks.
  • Keeping some padding under your knees can also give you more stability and will help you more in this situation.

5. Foot and ankle mistake

If the knees are higher than the ground, this can cause your ankles to flip to a significant degree, which can be uncomfortable. Or the outside of your ankles may be uncomfortable because they are touching the ground.

Fix:
  • Place soft padding under the ankles or use two yoga mats.
  • In a traditional cross-legged position, tuck each leg under the opposite calf.
  • Bring one heel towards your waist. The other leg can rest on the floor in front of you which will elevate your heel. This configuration widens your legs slightly.

Safety and precautions

While Sukhasana is a simple and gentle pose that is accessible to most people, there are some contraindications to be aware of. Here are the contraindications where it may be best to avoid or modify the pose:

  1. Knee or ankle injuries: If you have an injury or pain in your knees or ankles, you may find it uncomfortable to sit cross-legged for an extended period of time. Instead, you can sit on a block or cushion to elevate your hips and reduce the pressure on your knees and ankles.
  2. Low back pain: If you have chronic low back pain, you may find it uncomfortable to sit with your legs crossed. Instead, you can try sitting on a block or cushion to elevate your hips, or practice a different seated posture, such as Easy Seat with your legs extended in front of you.
  3. Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, you may find it uncomfortable to sit cross-legged in later stages of pregnancy. Instead, you can sit on a block or cushion to elevate your hips, or practice a different seated posture, such as Easy Seat with your legs extended in front of you. It is also recommended to avoid deep forward folds during pregnancy.
  4. High blood pressure or vertigo: If you have high blood pressure or experience dizziness or vertigo, it is best to avoid holding the head in a forward position for extended periods of time. Instead, you can practice a more upright seated posture or modify the pose by placing a block or cushion under your forehead to support your head.

Benefits of Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

The main benefit of Sukhasana is that it is easy to maintain for those whose bodies are not able to sit in a more difficult meditation posture. Otherwise, for longer periods of meditation, one of the other postures, which allows the knees to touch the floor, will achieve much greater stability.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of Sukhasana.

  • It spreads a feeling of peace and calm through your mind and body.
  • It relaxes your brain.
  • You will all feel tired, tense and anxious.
  • The bones of your chest and collar are widened.
  • Your body alignment is improved.
  • Practicing this asana helps to lengthen your spine.
  • Your back becomes strong and stable.
  • This asana gives a good stretch to your knees and ankles.

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