Laghima And What Skating Can Teach Us About The Sutras

by movelicious on June 5, 2012

Kilian Martin has laghima. III. 43 “Through a highly developed faculty of opening in space there comes an ability to move easily through space.”  (Busia) kaya-akasayoh sambandha-samyamat laghu-tula-samapatteh ca akasagamanam. (Patañjali, Yoga Sutras)

There are only a couple of places where Patañjali refers to anything that could be considered asanas, or even guidance on asanas. I consider sutra III. 43 one of those exceptions. Sutra III.43 refers to what some refer to as the “supernatural” power of laghima (weightlessness) or “becoming as light as cotton.” (Iyengar, 1966, Light on the Yoga Sutras)

It is possible to get a taste of laghima, if  you let go of your attachment to the self (ahamkara) and the attachment to your body. Moving with and through laghima can give you a taste of samadhi (union, “a state in which you’re one with your object of meditation……where there is a feeling of unutterable joy and peace”). (Iyengar, 1966, Light on Yoga)

How can you get a taste of laghima?

practice. Kilian Martin is a former gymnast; to float in and out of hand stand as he does, takes hours of training. In yoga you would try to also focus on any kind of jump backs. For example, floating from uttanasana B (extended standing forward bend) in to chaturanga dandasana. Or even coming into ardha chandrasana (half moon pose), where you just cannot wait to lift your leg just hip heigh. You might find a stabilized lightness of being, where sukha (sweetness) and sthira (steadiness) are meeting quite happily.

being comfortable with your weight. Just throw away decades of cultural pressure (so easy right?)  to have the perfect body and just play with you weight; do some gravity surfing, ride the waves. Laghima will find you, if you allow yourself this playfulness.

let go of your ego. Thoughts will come up, just think of them as passing clouds, move through them. I.2 yogah cittavrtti nirodhah. ”Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.” (Patañjali, Yoga Sutras). Just stay with what you’re doing. Then asanas will “facilitate yoga.” (Barbara Benagh)

Moving easily through space, hard very hard but you might need no superpowers to get there. As Watson sings in the skating video, “Ain’t it feel right/ Ain’t it feel nice….To find what you were looking for/Because you were always right behind.”  (Patrick Watson, Adventures in your own backyard)




  • Nerissa Nields

    Beautiful! I have dreams, real REM dreams about walking around on my hands. I also have dreams of flying, though usually it’s more like floating. You have inspired me to keep practicing those jump backs!

  • admin

    Thank you Nerissa for your wonderful comments; that means a lot to me.
    It’s amazing what we can do in our dreams………

  • Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt

    Interesting! Alas, I haven’t taken on the practice of yoga yet. I sure could use a taste of laghima!

    • Corey

      I love this article bceause it is important to know that it is absolutely much more than a physical excersize. It helps you realize the mind,body and spirit connection a lot more!

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