Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ending your practice but not your awareness.

I’ve always heard about Savasana or Corps Pose being that hardest posture to “get”.

This is how we typically end each practice. Lying on your back, shoulder tucked onto your back, palms facing up, and body....RELAXED! It’s easier said than done. I personally LOVE this posture, but that's also been a learning experience and I've had to do just that, learn and practice.
All that’s being asked of you is to just LAY there, LET GO, breath, and surrender your body, mind and soul for only about 3 minutes, in my classes that is. To some this can be the longest 3 minutes of their life as they have SO much to do when they leave the studio, especially being at a gym. This is the difference between teaching at a studio and teaching inside of a gym. When people come to the studio, their main focus is yoga, and that’s it. When people take a yoga class at a gym, I feel it’s more of an enhancement to their workout. I hear a lot of “I just need to stretch” but unfortunately not a lot of feeling the need to be less stressed, more focused and present. This is fine as they may not know what it means to feel these types of things and ultimately...that’s where I come in.

Yesterday night during my class of 10 people (AWESOME!) I themed the class on the breath. Breathing through the postures like breathing through life when it puts you in a tough position. At the end after I got them into Savasana, I read the poem I posted last year called Breath is Enough-By Robert William Service. I let that sit, or in this case lay with them while they relaxed and enjoyed Savasana. I remember two of the girls in the back who had never taken a yoga class before. Their heads popped up and they looked at each other as if to say “are we done??!!” I continued to guide them through Savasana, letting them know it was ok to relax, let go and surrender each part of their body deeper into the mat. They had full permission to just lay there and do nothing.

I feel having a hectic mind is an outcome of pushing too hard in yoga postures, concentrating too much on what you must and mustn’t do, not breathing through the posture trusting yourself. Then there’s its opposite; a deep sleep during corpse pose, day dreaming or dreaming and letting your thoughts take over because dreaming is often way easier then surrendering to a posture. While sleeping seems to be the most ordinary occurrence throughout this pose; sleeping keeps us from the depth and refinement of Savasana. I am one of the world’s biggest day dreamers and I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with daydreaming or even sleeping, it’s just that those states are considered unconscious; and that makes it’s much easier for one to dream than to surrender. Without even knowing it you might even actively engage the mind's eye in order to avoid the release one might have during Savasana.
It’s about finding that sweet spot right in the middle between sleep and effort, observing rather than chasing, and letting go rather than holding onto. This to me…is Savasana.
So is that it? Are we scared to LET ourselves LET GO? Are we worried that we might let go of something that we may think is holding us together? We live in a world full of distractions that we tend to repulse; Most of the time by pushing things deep inside us and not surrendering to them. This isn’t usually done on purpose but more so because we’re so busy we don’t think we have time, not even understanding that we actually don’t even HAVE to deal with it, just don't engage. When finally given the chance to rest, all of these feeling arise, our mind races and we feel we’re forced to deal with them, trying to figure out a solution to everything that VERY moment. When in Corpse Pose, if we're given the permission to let ourselves “briefly die” or “a small death, every moment, every day,” says Pattabhi Jois. We allow ourselves to experience the world as it is in that very moment. Learning from this example allows us to suspend those distractions and surrender to the feelings that we have been avoiding. This surrender gives way to spaciousness within the mind, body and soul. When one practices this way there is space enough for everything, especially love and appreciation.

I am too still learning to let go in Savasana, as well as other parts of my life. Little by little I have actually extended the life of my “small death” learning to come back to the breath each time my mind wanders and tries to deal with things that I’ve usually already let go of…or so I thought. It’s one of the most important parts of my practice. If I find myself too much in my head, I turn my focus to being grateful. I figure if I can’t relax my mind enough for the time being I might as well use it to focus on being thankful, and releasing some positive energy.
If you find yourself getting distracted or agitated, you can always come back to this basis. Just undo, unwind, breathe, get out of the way of those thoughts and JUST observe.

I read an amazing line today “When you roll out of Savasana, do not let Savasana roll out of you.” -Brad's Iyengar Yoga Notebook

Thanks Brad! If this were facebook…The “LIKE” button would be pressed! ;)

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