Sukhasana – Easy Pose
The yoga pose that most refer to as “easy pose” is also known as sukhasana in Sanskrit. I will refer to this pose as “cross-legged seat” as I am trauma-informed trained and “easy” is not a word I like to use when it comes to these types of things. When it comes to this pose, easy actually refers to “with ease”. So this is a sitting pose with ease. Each person’s “ease” will vary.
sukha – pleasure asana -pose or seat
This is not necessarily an easy pose. It can be for some but for many it can be a very difficult pose due to physical and mental restraints. This is a common pose used for meditation and has been a part of yoga since it’s beginning. Cross-legged pose can be hard to sit in for those with less flexibility in the hips and for some it can make the legs go numb. This can also be scary to sit in a “simple” pose and just be.
Often times for trauma survivors and even those that struggle with other mental health issues, allowing yourself to sit, be still, focus on your breathing and allowing yourself to feel what is in that moment can be extremely hard. It can bring up emotions or feelings that we often try to avoid. If this is the case for you, check out the meditation to feel your emotions. This meditation can be done in the cross-legged pose and helps our bodies feel safer in feeling the various (& sometimes scary) emotions we don’t always like to feel.
- Supportive padding such as a blanket, block, bolster or even a book
How to do Cross-Legged Pose
1- Use any of a preferred prop for supported padding underneath you to sit on. This could even be done on a couch or in bed!
2- Pay attention to your sit bones (butt bones) and their connection to your foundation (prop, chair, floor, etc.). Bend your legs and cross them at the ankles.
3- Sit upright in your spine, creating a straight line from the tailbone up to your head. Focus on each vertebrae stacking directly on top of the other up to the base of your neck. Sway from side to side, make circles with your torso or move from a cat/cow to find the alignment in your spine.
4- Open your chest, lifting your heart and gently press your shoulder blades together and down your back.
5- Allow your hands to rest in your lap, on your legs or knees, placing them wherever you feel the most at ease.
Benefits of Cross-Legged Pose
Physiological: This yoga pose is a great grounding pose. This position allows you to not only feel your connection to the earth below you but is also a place to find your connection to yourself. Sitting in easy pose or cross-legged pose helps to calm the brain as it is a place for meditation, contemplation and rest. It is a place to sit with ease.
Physical: Cross-legged pose helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. It also assists in allowing the hips to release and relax stretching the psoas as well as the knees and ankles.
If your hips are tight, I highly recommend using a prop to sit on. It can also be helpful to place your back up against a wall when you are starting out. If this is still uncomfortable, allow yourself to sit on a chair or the couch.
Use this “easy pose”/ cross-legged pose to begin or end your yoga sequences, for when you’re meditating or needing just to focus on your breath to bring yourself into mindfulness.