Savasana in theory should be one of the easiest poses; lying like a corpse on a mat for the last few minutes of class. However, for most of us it’s the most challenging; unless you are one of these enlightened folks who discovered how great it is as a beginner in which case I applaud you. I’m particularly aware of savasana’s difficulty as I sit in someone else’s yoga class and watch a few people sneak out just as the lights dim and the music quiets. I get that. I totally get that temptation to leave. “Oh, I can use those extra 2 minutes of time to beat the rush and get on to my next activity.” Believe me I totally get that feeling because I have often times spent these last few moments thinking about what I have to do after class. In fact I wrote (mentally, not on my laptop) this blog post while in savasana in the class that I just attended, which is why I have lately been noticing that my savasana time is spent pondering the class, thinking about how I can turn it into a blog post or what elements I can add into my own sequences (I have some great teachers in studios around me so I love adopting some of their ideas).
However I am missing out on what is possibly the greatest moment of my day…or week. A few blessed moments of pure silence. Me and my breath. No thoughts, no ponderings, no musings. Those are all synonyms, but I’m a bit jazzed up after this rather intense yoga session. My legs are actually still shaking. My goodness that is hard, just me and my breath. What?!
When I first started yoga – forget it – I didn’t even try to participate in savasana. I mean, I lay there of course, but I desperately wanted to take off early with those other people who were probably already checking things off their to-do list. “Ahhhh it’s killing me,” but the fear of offending a teacher (and teachers do not appreciate early departers) kept me there, and in time my appreciation grew.
As I started a regular practice, I began to relish those moments. What’s 120 seconds going to accomplish in the scheme of life, even 300 seconds. Maybe by laying there and delving into meditation I am ultimately making room for more productivity, more appreciation, more happiness! Who knows, but I like to think so.
Savasana is arguably the most important part of a yoga session. This is when it all comes together; when the mind and the body integrate all that they have learned and experienced in the last hour. It allows the body to get back to neutral, release stress and affords us the opportunity to take note of how the body now feels.
Why then am I back to mind scrambling during savasana? How can I get back to meditation? Here are some suggestions for myself and you if you are not one of those people who just get savasana and are rather more the “I really need to check off my to do list” type person comme moi:
- Play around with savasana. We can execute it in a number of different manners. Try props – like a blanket under the head or a bolster under the knees. Lie on the side if lying flat is uncomfortable. Allow some freedom to experiment.
- If clearing the mind sounds like an impossible feat, focus on your breath and each time your mind wanders acknowledge the thought, send it away and return the focus to the breath. It’s unlikely we will be reaching transcendental enlightenment at the end of a yoga class between school drop-offs and rushing back to work. Let’s cut ourselves some slack, just keep trying, and enjoy the quiet.
In the meantime, check out Yoga Journal‘s marvelous step by step on how to get into and reside in corpse pose.