sthira sukham asanam ||46||
Practicing yoga with strength and in a relaxed manner gives rise to harmony with the physical body (asana). ||46||
sthira = (nom. sg. m.) strong; steady; stable; motionless
sukham = (acc. from sukha) comfortable; ease filled; happy; light; relaxed
āsanam = (acc. sg. n./nom. sg. n. from āsana) asana; posture; seated position; physical practice
āsana is the third step of ashtanga yoga in the first yoga specific technique. As previously mentioned, Patañali describes yoga as a misconception-free view of the world. These misconceptions, which cloud our perceptions, are of a physical, energetic, mental and emotional nature. In āsana, which concerns the body, we begin to work on the lack of clarity in our physical body. Access is realized via the physical body at first since this makes things easier for the aspirant. Just as a person training to climb Mt. Everest will begin by climbing a much smaller mountain, it is a relatively simple matter to establish harmony with your physical body. Hence working on your body is like climbing such a smaller mountain, which teaches you the basics you need for physical practice as you progress down the path of yoga. In this process, you learn which practices suit you and you see their direct results. According to Patañjali, work on the body should be “hard but at the same time soft” (ys ii.46).