Pose of the Week: Sukhasana/Swastikasana

This week the pose is Sukhasana or alternatively named Swastikasana. Sukh= Easy. Swastika= good fortune or well-being, it is a sacred symbol of harmony in Hinduism and Buddhism. Asana= pose/posture. I refer to it as Easy Crossed Leg Position.

It is one of the first poses taught in the Beginner’s classes at Yoga Path. For some it is not ‘easy’ as the description presupposes! It requires flexibility in the knee and the hip joints and most importantly, the ability to maintain a lifted, erect spine. It is an asana, and in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, asana means to sit in a firm, steady but comfortable state (Sutra 2.29). So even when you’re practicing, Uttitha Trikonasana (triangle pose) for example, you need to be ‘sitting’ in a steady comfortable state. That is the nature of the asana.

So, the postures of yoga you are taught in class give you the ability to be able to endure sitting for long periods of time. There is a progression. It is from the physical movements of the asana practice to a position fit for Pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Both require discipline and concentration. It’s not an overnight thing :).

Last week I discussed the concept of staying in the asana and the benefits gained. As BKS Iyengar says: “the outer mind is automatically made to move to touch the inner mind and through that inner mind, one is made to reach the consciousness to develop patience and forbearance.” (BKS Iyengar interview with Stephanie Tade, 2005). So when you sit, you stay, and you learn about your true Self.

Swastikasana is done by sitting on the floor and folding one leg in front of the other. This is where the Swastika concept comes from. The symbol of the Swastika became popularised by the Nazis creating a misinterpretation of the symbol to mean racial supremacy and terror. However the symbol dates back possibly 15,000 years and has been mysteriously adopted across all parts of the world. Archaeological evidence shows its use on ceramic pottery and carvings from Europe to Asia to Russia.


What caused this widespread use of the Swastika symbol? Could it have been a comet approaching so close to Earth, with jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet’s rotation, leading to the adoption of the Swastika as a symbol around the world? (Carl Sagan Comet, 1985)? Maybe!

See you on the mat :)

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