In the waning moments of my Yoga practice, I would find myself restless. I would think about everything and anything; what would I have for dinner, emails I had to write, plot lines for Home and Away, I would even mentally run through all of the things that I should be doing instead of lying there doing nothing. I was itching to get out of there and get to work.
Questions would run through my head on a loop: How much longer will we be here? How long has it been? Are we going overtime today? To add to my woes, my body often felt cold, itchy, or unsettled, adding a physical element to my mental distractions.
Sometimes I would even open my eyes and look around the room. Everyone else looked so peaceful and made it look easy. Maybe these people didn’t have anything else to do with their time I’d ask myself, starting another line of questioning.
I was often tempted to skip out early as I was so focused on the many tasks that I had to do (mostly for others). But other than my yoga practice a couple of times a week, what was I really doing for myself?
What is Savasana?
Savasana is perhaps the most important part of any Yoga practice. It is also considered the most difficult pose (and certainly found it extremely difficult). While Savasana might look like a nap at the end of your yoga practice, it’s actually a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed. In Savasana- also known as corpse pose- you lie down on your back, arms and legs are spread out at about 45 degrees, the eyes are closed and the breath deep, practicing eliminating tension from the body. Your whole body and mind are relaxed so you can fully assimilate the benefits of your asana practice. Ideally, this posture lasts anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the yoga teacher. However, even a few minutes of Savasana is said to have powerful benefits.
The Benefits of Savasana
According to Yoga Journal Savasana helps relieve mild depression, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. It can also calm the nervous system and promote equanimity in your entire body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense shoulders and jaws soften. It stimulates blood circulation and the eyes quiet down to reflect a quieter state of mind.
Some personal benefits of Savasana include releases stress, relaxes my whole body, improves concentration, relaxes my muscles (especially in my jaw, neck and shoulders) and calms my overactive mind.
What I have learnt about Savasana
I later found out that it’s normal for the mind to try to resist deep relaxation and all of the thoughts, feelings and distractions that I was experiencing were all common challenges of Savasana. It is the ultimate act of conscious surrender. Savasana takes practice and patience to surrender easily- two lessons that I needed to learn.
I still live my life in the fast lane. I cram everything in, I talk quickly, process quickly, and rarely put off things that can be done today for tomorrow (even if it means working 12-14 hour days). However, I now take the time to not only practice Savasana but I also appreciate how wonderful and valuable this time is in taking care of myself.
With the world moving so quickly, cultivating the art of Savasana is more valuable than ever and I have found the benefits invaluable. Our society tends to place greater value on speed and productivity but learning how to do nothing is a skill that has helped me become more productive when I need to be while taking care of myself both mentally and physically. It has helped me learn how to completely surrender, stop fighting the clock, and make space for peace and harmony to fill my soul. Savasana is the one thing that I do to bring mental relaxation and peace in my life. It is like hitting the restart button and rebooting your mind, body and spirit.
Needless to say Savasana is now my favourite part of a Yoga class. I love taking the time to relax my whole body, calm my mind, and release stress, fatigue and tension.
I hope you enjoyed reading my second Blog post. Keep on reading my next post to find out more about me as a Yoga teacher.
(The light in me respects, honours, loves and bows to the light in you)