You will never believe which yoga posture has been the most difficult for me to enjoy—I’ll give you three guesses.
1. Sirshasana (Headstand)?
2. Svarga Dvidasana (Bird of Paradise)?
3. Natarajasana (Dancer)?
I can do this one, but I sure don’t look like this
Nope… It was Savasana (Corpse Pose)
For years, there was no other posture that tricked me up and left me as frustrated as Savasana!!
Yup, resting pose was by far the most difficult posture for me to understand. A dear yoga coach stayed with me one day, for what must have felt like hours to him, until I could actually relax enough to RELAX into Savasana.
I know I am not alone in this struggle because I see at least one person in EVERY class that I teach who can’t stop fidgeting, can’t close their eyes, or simply can’t STAY!
I am a recovering Type A, Bright Red, All Engines a-go personality. I am high octane to the extreme. I think I get along just fine at the speed of light, but for some reason, my body has this weird habit of trying to shut down every once in awhile. For FIVE years, this has been really bothering me; I can go, go, go… but I know that I need to plan on a 2-3 day “crash” every few weeks. I have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to get this “crash” time to stop, but thus far to no avail. I FINALLY had an “a-ha” moment last month when I realized what was happening. My body wasn’t crashing and failing me… My body was simply responding to my lifestyle. When I stepped back to ponder on all that I get done in the two to three weeks that proceed a “crash” and the level of intensity that I expect my body to endure, I was able to view these crashes as my body’s natural need for recovery. Can I just admit to feeling so relieved (and a little naive) that after ALL this time of being frustrated, I finally understood what was happening! This helped me understand Savasana so much better as well.
Savasana has nothing to do with checking out or falling asleep; like my description of Mountain- Corpse pose, Savasana is anything BUT complacent! Savasana has EVERYTHING to do with checking in- but checking ALL THE WAY IN-WARD!
Consider the intensity with which the body and mind is moving and concentrating for the 30-45 minutes of a active asana practice, especially in the balancing postures. During asana practice, there is a lot going on that keeps the mind and body present in the current moment; a moment that might be beneficial, but not one we really get to sit and relish in. With all of the strength, energy, focus, and attention given to the body during a flow- Savasana offers the mind the opportunity to actually PROCESS what just happened and allows the body the ability to absorb all of the benefits of some seriously hard work and diligent effort.
So how does this translate to life? Well, in lots of ways…
It really doesn’t matter how a day is spent, it is pretty easy to ‘spend’ all 24 hours in a day and yet get to the end of the day feeling like we need more time! As we rush from activity to responsibility, we may not have the time or TAKE the time to enjoy the beauty of what is happening all around us. Even our days off and vacations are often spent in high anxiety driven activities. Have you ever come home from vacation feeling like you need a vacation from the vacation?
The theory of Savasana incorporated into our daily life gives us a little time to decompress from the high intense rate in which we move through life; it gives us time to reflect on the beauty of a job well done, on the beauty of God’s creations- on the miracles, blessings and goodness that are all around us.
There is an awareness activity where the participants are asked to look at a picture and study it for 1-2 minutes. At the end of the time, the picture is taken away and the participants are asked to list all the details that they saw. Inevitably, each participant will have a slightly different list and inevitably, they will NOT see everything in the first pass through the activity. We do the same thing as we travel through each day, hour, and moment; there are simply things we miss-
Savasana gives us the opportunity to STOP and SEE the moments of the day with a little more clarity. Corpse pose is ALWAYS done at the end of a yoga practice. However, in life, savasana can occur when we stop and enjoy the rainbow after a storm; when we walk through the park holding a child’s hand; when we meditate at the end or the beginning of each new day. Savasana occurs when we stop to hear the rain hit the ground, to see the morning dew on a rose bud. Savasana is becoming aware, without judgment of the good, and the difficult, of the day. No, this isn’t a complacent practice, this is active and engaged- actively engaged in processing the beauty of the busy life we lead. I love the way Melody Beattie puts it:
“As we go through our days, weeks, and months, what we’re experiencing doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Sometimes it causes downright distress. We’re uncomfortable. We feel out of place. We wonder if what we see is all there is. Those are the times to stop staring so hard, to relax our vision, and let the deeper picture, the real picture, come to us.”
Savasana is a beautiful gift we give our minds, our bodies, our spirits, and the world around us. When we stop to see the beauty, we are better prepared to share that beauty with those who might not see it themselves. That is a true power- to be the guide on someone else’s journey.
“Clarity is having the ability to see the mind, to know the mind, exactly as it is. Free from judgement and self-criticism, it’s a mind which simply ‘knows'”.
She Found Stillness
“For today it was a breath- one lovely, slow, deep breath.
Yesterday it was a moment drinking tea alone. She noticed the steam circling up.
She decided to watch for pockets life those daily. To plan for them, even.
To enter them like she might the doorway of a dear friend.”
Find YOUR stillness. Find it several times today if you can. Capture it in word, thought, or picture, but capture it today.
The recipe for today is adapted from one of my all time favorite cookbooks- you can find it hereFood to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook
- 4 mangoes, peeled and cut in dices
- 10 blackberries, cut in half if they are big
- 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
- diced pineapple
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lime
- jalapeno, large minced
- 1 TBSP. crystallized ginger
- small pinch of sea salt (I actually skip this, but I'm not a salt lover)
- Cut the fruit into bite size pieces, toss gently. Mince the jalapeno and red onion, combine with fruit. Add the lime zest and juice, ginger, and salt. Let sit so the flavors can combine.