Week 3 of CorePower Yoga TT marked the end of our posture clinics - which means I now know the whole sequence of postures that make up a class. Can you believe it took three weeks to break down a 60-minute class? That’s how much time your teachers are putting into learning each pose. And we still have 5 weeks to go! That should make you feel pretty good next time you step into the studio.
This week, we discussed the importance of Savasana – my number one, all-time, hands-down favorite pose.
For those of you that haven’t broken in to your yoga practice (yet), Savasana is the final resting pose of class. In this asana, we lie on our backs with our eyes closed, our arms at our sides, palms facing up, legs extended long out in front of us, feet flopping open. This pose is meant to be a complete surrender, with every muscle fully relaxed.
Sounds like a great time for a quick snooze, right? For many, Savasana often serves as a 3-minute nap before a busy day or the perfect time to run through the day’s to do list. Many students skip the pose altogether and roll their mats up as soon as the lights dim.
It just seems like they’re missing the point. Savasana is an antidote to stress, a recharge of the body, a rejuvenation of the mind, and a union of the body and Self. Savasana is the time when we get to reap all the benefits of the previous 60 minutes of our physical practice. It is the point in class where we allow ourselves to come into a state of meditation, by staying relaxed and attentive. The goal is to remain conscious and alert while still being at ease. For this reason, it is widely considered the most difficult pose of a yoga class.
In Savasana, we practice releasing all tightness and stiffness from the body – one muscle at a time. I often begin by scanning my body from the crown of my head all the way to my toes, assessing each muscle along the way. I notice that I often hold tension in my forehead, my tongue, and my legs. By focusing my energy on each muscle group and body part, I can allow myself to let go of any gripping or flexing. This not only feels amazing physically, especially after an hour of exhausting flows, but by concentrating on my body, my mind becomes much more clear.
When your physical body is completely relaxed, you have the mental energy to reach a state of meditation, or Dhyana, in which your mind can find stillness. Eventually, this meditation practice will allow us to reach Samadhi, or the ultimate state of bliss. (Read more about Dhyana and Samadhi here!)
If you’re not there yet, it’s okay. Neither am I! Very often, my busy mind jumps from thought to thought, in and out of meditation. Rather than getting frustrated by your thoughts, notice them, label them as just “thoughts,” and let them pass by as quickly as they came. It’s important to be free from judgement in this process. Reaching that ultimate state of consciousness and bliss takes years of practice, and many, many Savasanas.
But don’t rob yourself of the practice! I encourage you to take full advantage of every Savasana that is offered to you. Because let’s be honest, how often do we give ourselves permission to lie still, relax, and just breathe? Outside of the studio, the answer is almost never.
In your next Savasana, challenge yourself to be still and at ease, and notice how you react physically and mentally. Some days will be easier than others, and that’s part of the practice. Celebrate those peaceful moments of quiet between the rambling thoughts. Over time, these moments will get longer, and you will find more inner quiet both on and off your mat.