Many of us take time out of our busy schedules to show up to yoga class. We begin our practice on our mats, observing our thoughts as they dwell in the past or race toward the future until we hear the soothing sound of the teacher’s voice inviting us back into the room, and into present moment. We move through the postures, stretch our bodies and discover new capacities to be with ourselves in a strong, kind, loving way.
We leave our comfort zones and step into our learning zones.
Our energy moves, shifts, rises and falls. At the end of class, we enter savasana or “corpse pose” where we let go of all effort and receive the benefits of the practice. Or where we’re invited to let go. For many modern urbanites, it’s just not that easy.
As a newbie to yoga, I did not understand why we would just lie on our backs at the end of yoga. I was all about the movement and the workout! In stillness, my mind would wander into the past and the future. I admit, I often used savasana to plan the rest of my day.
Looking back, I can see I held the belief that relaxation was the equivalent of laziness.
Students have shared that it’s very difficult for them to quiet the mind… that they are already thinking about the To Do list waiting for them on the other side of the studio door. Others have shared they feel they aren’t “allowed” to just relax. Even for just a precious few minutes.
As B.K.S. Iyengar has said, “It’s much harder to keep the mind still than the body. Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.”
If you are having trouble letting go in savasana, the first thing you can try, is stop trying. You can just let it be whatever it is. You can also focus your mind on a body scan or listen to all the sounds in the room, just outside the door and farther away. If you’d like to practice savasana at home, this video provides a wonderful guided meditation
I did not arrive at my first yoga class with the intention of calming my mind — for me it was more about a healthy body — but over time something started to happen. I began to truly let go of all effort in Savasana. I stopped trying to “do” savasana and then really did access an inner calm.
So, while I began yoga for the workout, I continued my practice so I could maintain my inner peace, watch the fluctuations of my mind, and surrender into the feeling of “emptiness” or “clarity” I receive in savasana. Savasana has become my favorite posture. I can now see that this final resting pose is, in fact, the most advanced posture there is