Although the name suggests it's the simplest pose of all, Sukhasana takes time to become easy if your hips are stiff from sitting in chairs all day.
(Pronounced as "soo-KHAHS-anna")
Sukhasana literally means "easy chair pose" in Sanskrit.
Place a yoga blanket folded to about two hands long and one hand wide on your yoga mat. If you have chronic hip or knee pain, then you can sit on two blankets or more as needed so that you can hold your back up straight when you sit on the floor. Now sit down on the front edge of your blanket support. The idea is that your sitting bones should stay on the blanket, but you should sit forward enough for part of your hamstring muscles to descend naturally toward the ground.
Extend both your legs out straight in front of you in Dandasana, or Staff Pose. Bend your right leg and pull your right foot in toward you. Lift your left thigh enough so that your right heel can go underneath the middle of your left thigh. Now the outside of your right foot is against the floor with your left leg resting on top. Next, bend the left leg and pull the left foot underneath your right knee. Adjust your legs so that you have crossed your legs exactly at the middle of both shins.
Adjust your feet by extending through your heels, then relax the feet. Do not point the toes or push the toes out to the sides. The toes should face forward. Unlike other sitting postures, there will be a gap of at least one to two hands' distance between your heels and your sitting bones here.
Lean forward for a second to pull the flesh of your buttocks back and away from your sitting bones. Now you are sitting directly on top of the sitting bones with a centered pelvis. Stack your spine up straight, forming an L-shape with your torso and your legs. Do not lean forward or backward.
Lift your chest up, lengthening both sides of your torso up as well. Pull your shoulders back, then let the shoulders drop down. Keep your shoulder blades tucked into your back. Remember that it's the chest that should come slightly forward, not the ribs. Let the backs of your hands rest on your lap. You can also place your hands on your knees with the palms turned up or down.
Stay in this posture for as long as you like. However, it's important that you remember which leg you've crossed above which. That way, you can cross them the opposite way tomorrow. If you always cross your legs with the same leg on top, then your muscles and posture gradually become out of balance. If you are sitting for some time, then spend half the time with the legs crossed one way and then switch them for the other half of the time.
It is better to avoid this pose if you have a recent knee injury. For knee injuries more than 3 months old, practice this pose by placing pillows and yoga blankets as needed underneath the recovering knee joint until you do not feel extra strain in the knee joint. Then be sure to straighten the legs after you come out of the pose.
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