Prayatna Saithilya

Definition - What does Prayatna Saithilya mean?

Prayatna saithilya is a Sanskrit term that refers to the concept of finding a balance between the work and effort of asana with smooth, easy breathing. In prayatna saithilya, the balance between exertion and ease is perfectly achieved.

Prayatna means “effort” and refers in this case to the effort required to breathe, which is in itself the effort to live. Saithilya can be translated as “laxity” or “relaxation”; hence, the compound term, prayatna saithilya, denotes the perfect balance between these opposites.

It is said that once prayatna saithilya is achieved, the body is held without any effort by the yogi’s innate intelligence and connection with the Divine.

Yogapedia explains Prayatna Saithilya

Prayatna saithilya forms part of one of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which is “Prayatna Saithilya Ananta Samapatibhyam.” Individually, these words can be translated as:

  • Prayatna, meaning “effort”
  • Saithilya, meaning “loosen”
  • Ananta, meaning “infinite”
  • Samapatibhyam, meaning “fusing”

Thus, this whole sutra is thought to describe the technique yogis should use to make their asana firm, yet still comfortable. It suggests that the yogi should slacken the effort in order to find connection with the Infinite. An alternative complete translation is, “Perfection in asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the Infinite is reached."

Some yogis also take this sutra and the concept of prayatna saithilya as a reminder that every day they need to put in continuous effort and be absorbed in the posture in order to find the effortless connection with the Divine, which is the goal of yoga.

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