"Yoga recommends two possible ways for achieving the qualitie of sukha, comfort and lightness, and sthira, steady alertness. The first is to locate knots and resisances in the body and release them. This happens only gradually . . . . The means we use to release blocks and resistances must not adversely affect the body. We must proceed carefully. If we force the body we will experience pain or other unpleasant feelings and the problems will, in the long run, get worse instead of better. The body can only gradually accept an asana. It is by proceeding gently that we will feel light and be able to breathe easily in the position and therefore really benefit from it.
"The second possible means for realizing the concept of sthirasukha consists of visualizing the perfect posture. For this we use the image of the cobra Ananta, the king of the serpents, carrying the whole universe on his head while providing a bed for the Lord Vishnu on his coiled body. Ananta must be completely relaxed in order to make a soft bed for the lord. This is the idea of sukha. Yet the snake cannot be feeble and weak; it must be stong and steady in order to support the universe. That is the idea of sthira. Together these qualities give us the image and the feeling of a perfect asana."
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