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Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

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What is Sukhasana (Easy Pose)?

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sukhasana, or Easy Pose, is a foundational beginner-friendly seated yoga asana. In this pose, legs are crossed and interlaced with each other. The spine is upright, shoulders are precisely aligned above your glutes, and your body weight is evenly distributed over your sitting bones.  

Easy pose is the best-suited yoga asana for deep meditative and pranayama practices, as it brings more awareness and mindfulness to your body. 

If you're stuck sitting in a chair for prolonged durations, then the Sukhasana practice will help you unwind tension from your lower body and help you improve your posture. 

Overview & Etymology

Sukhasana is a Sanskrit word that translates to 'Sukha,' meaning pleasure, and 'Asana,' meaning posture or seat. 

Easy pose has been described as a meditative sitting posture in one of the oldest Sanskrit Upanishads from the 4th century, the Darshana Upanishad. 

Also, a 19th-century text from Karnataka - Sritattvanidhi describes 122 hatha yoga poses, including the Sukhasana practice. 

Sanskrit Name: सुखासन                      Pronunciation: Soo-kaah-SUN-ah

Pose Type: Seated, Hip Opener          Also known as: Easy Pose 

Strengthens: Mind, Back and Hips      Stretches: SpineKnees, Groin, and Legs

Health Benefits of Sukhasana

  • Improves posture. 

  • Boosts energy and focus. 

  • Calms the entire nervous system. 

  • Strengthens the ankles and knees.

  • Aligns the spine and strengthens the back.

  • Stretches the lower body for deep hip-opening asanas. 

  • Stimulates Muladhara, Manipura, and Swadisthana Chakras. 

  • Enhances focus, concentration, and a mindful thought process.

  • Opens the vaginal walls and helps pregnant women in labor.

  • Stimulates the reproductive organs and improves their functioning. 

When to Avoid Performing Sukhasana

  • Avoid if you have sciatic issues.

  • Avoid if you have a slipped disc.

  • Avoid if you have inflammatory knee arthritis.

  • Avoid if you’ve recently had knee, hip, or spine surgery. 

  • Avoid if you currently have severe body pain or an injury. 

How to do Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Although the name of this pose is easy, it requires an adequate range of motion in the glutes, hip flexors, inner thighs, and lower back before getting started with the primary pose practice.  

We have divided the main practice into four parts: warm-up, steps, alignment cues, and relax flow. Plus, you will find posture modifications and variations for all levels of yogis.

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Sukhasana

To prepare for Easy pose, you should thoroughly warm up your lower body, core, and spine. The following are some warm-up yoga poses that can help activate those areas: 

1. Dandasana (Staff Pose) - Sit with your legs straight and extended on the yoga mat. Keep your heels tucked into the ground and all of your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Engage your legs, core, and back muscles for a stable sitting posture. 

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Make sure your chest is open and your shoulders are aligned in one line with your hips. Place your palms at the sides of your hips and maintain this position for 1-5 minutes. This is a great way to activate the flow of blood in your back, hamstrings, and pelvis. 

2. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) - Also known as Butterfly and Cobbler's Pose, this pose is an excellent way to stretch your glutes, inner thighs, and hip flexors. Start by sitting in Staff pose and lengthening your spine upright. Next, bend your legs, form a namaste formation with your legs, and hold both feet with your hands. 

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Make sure your knees are close to the ground while gazing at a neutral point in front of you. Hold this position here for a few deep breaths, or you can also flap the legs up and down for enhanced blood circulation in your legs. 

3. Hindolasana (Seated Leg Cradle Dynamic Movement) - Sit in Easy pose and raise your top leg to your chest. Hold this leg with both hands, so it seems like you're holding a baby in your arms. Now, just like cradling a baby in your arms, cradle your leg from each side. 

Hindolasana (Seated Leg Cradle Dynamic Movement)

Make sure the rest of your body is firm and stable in the seated position. Perform this on each side for a couple of minutes, and soon your deep pelvic muscles will be activated. 

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Sukhasana

The following are steps to practice Sukhasana or Easy Pose:

Step 1- Start by sitting in Staff pose and firmly place your sitting bones on the yoga mat. 

Step 2- Next, take a deep breath and start to bend your legs—cross the shins of your legs on top of one another. 

Step 3- Sit with a straight spine, tighten your core, keep your knees close to the mat and close your eyes. 

Step 4- Place both hands on your knees in Gayan Mudra and focus on your breath. 

Step 5- Hold this position here for as long as you feel comfortable, and keep changing the placement of your legs.  

Step 6- Finally, release and relax your legs by coming back into Staff pose. 

Breath Awareness: 

  • Inhale when you cross your legs and engage your upper body to sit straight. 

  • Next, inhale and exhale while maintaining the Sukhasana position. 

  • Finally, exhale when you release your cross-legged seated position. 

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Sukhasana for a few deep breaths.

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Sukhasana for as long as you feel comfortable. 


Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

Sukhasana is usually maintained for a very long duration. So it’s important to make sure you follow all necessary posture tips. Here are some alignment and posture cues for Easy pose to get the most benefits and keep you safe from any injury: 

  • Don't round your spine: Keep your neck, shoulders, tailbone, and glutes in one straight line. Also, make sure your chest is lifted and your core is engaged. This will help you avoid rounding your spine, which may lead to poor posture and unnecessarily strain on your neck. 

  • Stay focused on your breath: Easy pose works wonders when building awareness and mindfulness in the body. To reap such benefits, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If you start having distracting thoughts, try to bring your mind back to your meditative state by chanting holy mantras. 

  • Don’t cross the same leg for too long: Sukhasana is a prolonged hold position; so it’s important to keep changing your leg placement every 3-5 minutes. This will help you avoid nerve blockages and even out blood circulation in both your legs. 

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Sukhasana

Here are a few counter yoga poses to re-energize and relax your spine and pelvis after a long practice of Easy pose: 

1. Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Easy Pose Forward Bend): Adho means "downward," Mukha means "face," and Adho Mukha Sukhasana is a basic seated forward bend that relaxes the spine and stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves. Begin sitting with your legs in front of you and your spine tall. 

istockphoto-636606278-612x612.jpeg

Next, bend your legs and sit in Easy pose. Inhale and lengthen your spine by extending both arms overhead. Exhale, fold forward from your hips, and bring your chest onto your crossed legs. Place your extended arms on the floor. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Finally, to release, slowly roll up to sitting. 

2. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose): For a deeper relaxation in your legs, sit on the ground with both your legs straight in front of you in Staff pose. Next, slowly begin to lean forward, and make sure your back is straight. 

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)

Then, reach forward and clasp your hands around your ankles or feet. You will feel a deep stretch in your back and hamstrings. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release and repeat until you feel your legs have re-energized with enhanced blood circulation. 

3. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): This pose is perfect for relaxation of the spine and is a great Easy pose counter-posture.To get into Supta Baddha Konasana, start from Easy pose. From here, untangle your crossed legs and touch the soles of your feet together, forming a Namaste formation with your legs. Next, extend your arms overhead by slowly lengthening your spine upright.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Finally, slowly lower your back and head to the ground, and lie down on your yoga mat with your arms overhead. Place a bolster or pillow under your lower back to remove any arching gaps. Relax here for 3-5 minutes until your spine feels comfortable and re-energized.

Sukhasana Modifications and Props

Here are a few easy pose modifications with props to make your practice easier:

  • Sit on a soft surface: Sit on a folded blanket or cushions to raise your hips and take unnecessary pressure off your lower back, sitting bones, and glutes. 

Sit on a soft surface

Also, if your knees are unable to stay close to the ground, then this is a perfect modification for you to get your knees closer to the mat.

  • Add a bolster: If you have knee arthritis or you’re recovering from a severe knee injury, add a bolster pillow below your knees and elevate them from the ground. 
Add a bolster

This will reduce unnecessary strain on your knees and keep them safe from any further damage around. 

Sukhasana Variations to Consider

Below are some most popular Easy pose variations that all levels of yogis can do: 

1. Parivrtta Sukhasana (Revolved Easy Pose) -  To perform this variation pose, begin in Sukhasana with your spine tall and your hands resting on your knees. Take a deep breath, and with an elongated exhale, twist your core to the left, placing your left hand on the ground behind you.

Parivrtta Sukhasana (Revolved Easy Pose)

Hold this spine-twisting motion here for a few seconds, and then repeat on the right side. This is a restorative seated twist that helps to improve digestion and relieve lower back pain. 

2. Easy Pose Side Bend Variation - 

From Easy Pose, bring your right hand to the floor behind your right hip. Reach your left arm up and stretch it over to your right side; hold this pose here for 5-10 breaths, and repeat on the other side. 

Easy Pose Side Bend Variation

This Easy pose variation will stimulate your side abdomen organs for better functioning. Plus, it will increase flexibility and strength in your obliques. 

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Level-Up Poses After Sukhasana for Advanced Yogis

Feeling strong and stabilized in your Easy pose practice? Then it’s time to get into some advanced-level yoga poses to further challenge your hip and spine mobility: 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Sukhasana Garuda Arms Variation (Easy Pose Eagle Arms)

Level-Up Pose 2 - Parvatasana in Siddhasana (Seated Mountain Pose in Auspicious Pose)

Level-Up Pose 3 - Urdhva Upavistha Konasana (Upward Seated Angle Pose)

Level-Up Pose 4 - Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Sukhasana Garuda Arms Variation (Easy Pose Eagle Arms)

Sukhasana Garuda Arms Variation (Easy Pose Eagle Arms)

Parvatasana in Siddhasana (Seated Mountain Pose in Auspicious Pose)

Parvatasana in Siddhasana (Seated Mountain Pose in Auspicious Pose)

Urdhva Upavistha Konasana (Upward Seated Angle Pose)

Urdhva Upavistha Konasana (Upward Seated Angle Pose)

Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Similar Standing Poses like Sukhasana

The following is a list of seated yoga asanas that will target similar muscle groups as the Easy pose practice: 

  1. Malasana (Garland Pose)

  2. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

  3. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

  4. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

  5. Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose)

  6. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Frequently Asked Questions about Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Can beginners perform Sukhasana?

What is Parivrtta Sukhasana?

What are the benefits of Sukhasana?

What is Parsva Sukhasana?

Which asana is recommended to be performed after Sukhasana?

What are the benefits of the Sukhasana twist?

Who should avoid performing sukhasana?

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