Osho on Patanjali Yoga Sutra - Posture should be steady and comfortable. (Sthir sukham asanam).
Osho - Patanjali's yoga has been very much misunderstood, misinterpreted. Patanjali is not a gymnast, but yoga looks like it is a gymnastics of the body. Patanjali is not against the body. He is not a teacher to teach you contortions of the body. He teaches you the grace of the body, because he knows only in a graceful body a graceful mind exists; and only in a graceful mind a graceful self becomes possible; and only in a graceful self, the God.
Step by step, deeper and higher grace has to be attained. Grace of the body is what he calls asan, posture. He's not a masochist. He is not teaching you to torture your body. He is not a bit against the body. How can he be? He knows the body is going to be the very foundation-stone. He knows if you miss the body, if you don't train the body, then higher training will not be possible.
The body is just like a musical instrument. It has to be rightly tuned; only then will the higher music arise out of it. If the very instrument is somehow not in right shape and order, then how can you imagine, hope, that the great harmony will arise out of it? Only discordance will arise. Body is a veena, a musical instrument.
"STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM" -- the posture should be steady and should be very, very blissful, comfortable. So never try to distort your body, and never try to achieve postures which are uncomfortable.
For the Westerners, sitting on the ground, sitting in padmasan, lotus posture, is difficult; their bodies have not been trained for it. There is no need to bother about it. Patanjali will not force that posture on you. In the East people are sitting from their very birth, small children sitting on the ground. In the West, in all cold countries, chairs are needed; the ground is too cold. But there is no need to be worried about it. If you look at Patanjali's definition, what a posture is, you will understand: it should be steady and comfortable.
If you can be steady and comfortable in a chair, it is perfectly okay -- no need to try a lotus posture and force your body unnecessarily. In fact, if a Western person tries to attain to lotus posture it takes six months to force the body; and it is a torture. There is no need. Patanjali is not in any way helping you, in any way persuading you, to torture the body. You can sit in a tortured posture, but then it will not be a posture according to Patanjali.
A posture should be such that you can forget your body. What is comfort? When you forget your body, you are comfortable. When you are reminded continuously of the body, you are uncomfortable. So whether you sit in a chair or you sit on the ground, that's not the point. Be comfortable, because if you are not comfortable in the body you cannot long for other blessings which belong to deeper layers: the first layer missed, all other layers closed. If you really want to be happy, blissful, then start from the very beginning to be blissful. Comfort of the body is a basic need for anybody who is trying to reach inner ecstasies.
"Posture should be steady and comfortable." And whenever a posture is comfortable it is bound to be steady. You fidget if the posture is uncomfortable. You go on changing sides if the posture is uncomfortable. If the posture is really comfortable, what is the need to fidget and feel restless and go on changing again and again?
And remember, the posture that is comfortable to you
may not be comfortable to your neighbor; so please, never teach your
posture to anybody. Every body is unique. Something that is comfortable
to you may be uncomfortable to somebody else.
So never listen to anybody's advice. You have to find your own posture. There is no need to go to any teacher to learn it; your own feeling of comfort should be the teacher. And if you try -- within a few days try all the postures that you know, all the ways that you can sit -- one day you will fall upon, stumble upon, the right posture. And the moment you feel the right posture, everything will become silent and calm within you. And nobody else can teach you, because nobody can know how your body harmony, in what posture, will exactly be steady, comfortable.
Try to find your own posture. Try to find your own yoga, and never follow a rule, because rules are averages. They are just like, in Poona there are one million people: somebody is five feet tall, somebody five five, somebody five six, somebody six feet, somebody six and a half feet. One million people: you calculate their heights and then you divided the total height of one million people by one million; then you will come to an average height. It may be four feet eight inches or something. Then you go and search for the average person -- you will never find. Average person never exists. Average is the most false thing in the world. Nobody is an average. Everybody is himself; nobody is an average. Average is a mathematical thing -- it is not real, it is not actual.
All rules exist for averages. They are good to understand a certain thing, but never follow them. Otherwise you will feel uncomfortable. Four feet eight inches is the average height! Now you are five feet, four inches longer -- cut it. Uncomfortable... walk in such a way so you look like the average: you will become an ugly phenomenon, an ashtha walker. You will be like a camel, crooked everywhere. One who tries to follow the average will miss.
Average is a mathematical phenomenon, and mathematics does not exist in existence. It exists only in man's mind. If you go and try to find mathematics in existence you will not find. That's why mathematics is the only perfect science: because it is absolutely unreal. Only with unreality can you be perfect. Reality does not bother about your rules, regulations; reality moves on its own. Mathematics is a perfect science because it is mental, it is human. If man disappears from the earth, mathematics will be the first thing to disappear. Other things may continue, but mathematics cannot be here.
Always remember, all rules, disciplines, are average; and average is nonexistential. And don't try to become the average; nobody can become. One has to find his own way. Learn the average, that will be helpful, but don't make it a rule. Let it be just a tacit understanding. Just understand it, and forget about it. It will be helpful as a vague guide, not as an absolutely certain teacher. It will be just like a vague map, not perfect. That vague map will give you certain hints, but you have to find out your own inner comfort, steadiness. How you feel should be the determining factor. That's why Patanjali gives this definition, so that you can find out your own feeling.
"STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM." There cannot be any better definition of posture: Posture should be steady and comfortable. In fact I would like to say it the other way, and the Sanskrit definition can be translated in the other way: Posture is that which is steady and comfortable. STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM: That which is steady and comfortable is posture. And that will be a more accurate translation. The moment you bring "should," things become difficult. In the Sanskrit definition there is no "should," but in the English it enters. I have looked into many translations of Patanjali. They always say, "Posture should be steady and comfortable." In the Sanskrit definition -- STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM -- there is no "should." STHIR means steady, SUKHAM means comfortable, ASANAM means posture -- that's all. "Steady, comfortable: that is the posture."
Why does this "should" come in? Because we would like to make a rule out of it. It is a simple definition, an indicator, a pointer. It is not a rule. And remember it always: that people like Patanjali never give rules; they are not so foolish. They simply give pointers, hints. You have to decode the hint into your own being. You have to feel it, work it out; then you will come to the rule, but that rule will be only for you, for nobody else.
If people can stick to it, the world will be a very beautiful world -- nobody trying to force anybody to do something, nobody trying to discipline anybody else. Because, your discipline may have proved good for you, it may be poisonous for somebody else. Your medicine is not necessarily a medicine for all. Don't go on giving it to others. But foolish people always live by rules.
I have heard that Mulla Nasrudin was learning medicine with a great physician. He watched his master to find out hints. When the master would go for his rounds to see the patients, Mulla would follow. One day Mulla was surprised. The master took the pulse of the patient, closed his eyes, meditated and said, "You have been eating too many mangoes."
Mulla was surprised. How could he find out through the pulse? He never heard that anybody could find through the pulse beat: you have been eating mangoes. He was puzzled. On the way back home he asked, "Master, please give me a little hint. How could you...?"
The master laughed; he said, "The pulse cannot show, but I looked under the bed of the patient. There were many mangoes -- uneaten and a few eaten. So I just inferred; it was an inference."
The master was ill one day, so Mulla had to go for the
daily rounds. He went to see a new patient. He took the pulse in his
hand, closed his eyes, brooded a little -- just exactly like the master
-- and then he said, "You have been eating too many horses."
Mulla was very much puzzled. He came home very
disturbed and sad. The master asked, "What happened?"
How to attain to this posture? How to attain this steadiness? First look at the comfort. If your body is exactly in deep comfort, in deep rest, feeling good, a certain well-being surrounds you: that should be the criterion with which to judge. That should become the touchstone. And this is possible while you are standing; this is possible while you are Lying down; this is possible while you are sitting on the ground or sitting on a chair. It is possible anywhere, because it is an inner feeling of comfort. And whenever it is attained you will not like to continue moving again and again, because the more you move, the more you will miss it. It happens in a certain state. If you move, you move away; you disturb it.
And that's the natural desire in everybody, and yoga is the most natural thing: natural desire is to be comfortable, and whenever you are in discomfort you will like to change it. That is natural. Always listen to the natural, instinctive mechanism within you. It is almost always correct.
Source - Osho Book "Yoga: The Alpha and The Omega, Vol 6"
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