2.46 – The posture for meditation practice should be steady and comfortable.
sthira sukham asanam
- sthira – steady; stable; still
- sukham -comfortable; pleasant
- asanam – seat; posture
2.47 – Posture becomes steady and comfortable by letting go of all tensions and merging one’s consciousness with the infinite.
prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam
- prayatna – tension; effort; exertion; difficulty
- shaithilya – letting go; relaxing; dropping
- ananta – – eternal; endless
- samapattibhyam – merging with; becoming absorbed in
2.48 – Poised in the infinite, one is freed from all duality.
ततो द्वङ्द्वानभिघातः ॥४८॥
tatah dvandva anabhighata
- tatah – due to that; from that
- dvandva – duality; pair of opposites
- anabhighata – unobstructed; unrestrained; free
Commentary on Sutras 2.46—2.48:
The third limb of yoga is asana. The word asana means “seat” or “throne.” And although there are hundreds of variations of asanas practiced in today’s physical yoga, Patanjali is referring to a comfortable seated posture that we can hold steady throughout a meditation session.
Those with enough flexibility can meditate on the floor in the lotus posture, the half-lotus, or in one of the other various postures described in yogic texts. But we can also practice meditation just as effectively while seated in a comfortable chair. In any case, the back should be held straight so energy can move freely throughout the spine.
The yogi should relax deeply into the process, letting go of all tensions. An easy method for releasing tension is to do a quick body scan from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, noticing and relaxing any tight areas as you go.
As tensions are released and the posture becomes more steady and comfortable, consciousness becomes still and expansive. Finally, when it merges with Infinite Awareness, the asana becomes so steady that the body is forgotten.
In that state, the yogi transcends the dual nature of reality and comes to rest in their true nature.