Welcome to Wheel and Axle, the home on the web for Edward Jones, teacher of yoga and meditation, and psychoanalyst-in-training. Here you can find Edward's teaching schedule, learn about his teaching philosophy, and share thoughts on the intersection between yoga, Buddhism, and psychology.
What does Wheel and Axle mean?
To answer this question, we turn to the Sanskrit language, whose footing in ancient oral traditions endows it with a deep poeticism and richness. The word Sukha is typically translated to mean something like "sweet" or "easy" or "comfortable," as in yoga sutra 2.46, Sthira Sukham Asanam ("Posture should be steady and comfortable." Translation by Edwin Bryant). A deeper look into the etymology of Sukha reveals a subtle and profound teaching on the nature of relationship.
"Su" literally means "good" and "kha" means "aperture" or "opening." Sukha therefore means something closer to "good space" than "sweet" or "easy." This good space originally referred to the hole in a wheel into which the axle fits. A wheel isn't much use without an axle and this relationship is best served by making the right kind of space. If the opening in the center of a wheel is too small, there can be no connection with the axle and therefore no movement. If the opening is too big, the axle will have no stability and won't get very far before falling apart. What we are looking for is not unbounded space, or limitless freedom, as wonderful as that sounds. If we hope to make progress we need space within us that is open to making new connections, and stable enough to have integrity. The wheel and axle is our metaphor of sukha, good functional space, in our body, our mind, and our relationships.