Thursday, April 2, 2009

Savasana - Learning to let go...

Over the recent weeks i have found myself pondering and exploring, mentally and physically, what it means to let go.

Letting go of old thought patterns, old habits,
exploring the edges of my own existence
and then fully letting go of it all so that i don't get too attached to new ideas and new ways of being.

Why are we are such creatures of habit?

And ultimately the depth of our yoga practice,
exists where one idea joins another,
it transpires as practices merge
and occurs as relationships in our lives become more intimate.

What, then, is the role of 'Savasana' in the yoga practice?

Why is it often referred to as the most important pose?

And, is it okay to fall asleep in Savasana?

I should preface all of my insights with the notion that i am just sharing my ideas, some of which are based on reading and teachers and others that are simply grounded in my own human experience.

Savasana is directly translated as the corpse pose and in the literal sense it symbolizes the way that we are all dying a little bit every day. Regardless of how long we live, as each day passes we are one day closer to our deaths. In Western culture the notion of death is often avoided or treated in such a way that it isn't appropriate to talk about. Perhaps down the road Savasana can help bring us to a place where the ideas of aging and death are not feared or loathed but rather seen as another example of the way things are always shifting and changing to become something else?

Nothing is static.

Lately I have been exploring Savasana as the place where the physical yoga practice seeps into the deeper essence of my being. Many of us have an intuitive sense that yoga is about more then changing our physical bodies. We feel inside of ourselves that there is something deeply meaningful about this practice, but it is sometimes hard to put our fingers on exactly what it is. This is where i think Savasana has a unique and very important role in the asana practice.

It is a chance to be still and focus our energy inward.
Unsure of whether we are awake or asleep,
we can feel our heart beat
we can watch the mind race
and we can choose to let these things go (even if it is only for a brief moment)
and settle deeper and deeper in the essence of who we are.

And the scary truth is that most of us aren't really sure who we are,
and so Savasana is hard because it asks us to face that uncertainty
and in facing 'not knowing' maybe we can begin to really truly relax?
but more likely at first is figetting, itching, talking to ourselves,
and waiting for the bell,
or perhaps we fall asleep to avoid the uncertainty?

It is important that we don't latch on to a certain ideal Savasana experience. Every day is different and every moment and every breath brings a new opportunity to explore relaxation. If we accept this then we can move past expectations of Savasana being some blissful state we drift off to each day at the end of our practice.

A friend, and teacher, once told me to look for the edges of relaxation. Once you think you've found it, go deeper - surpass the limits your mind places on what it means to be relaxed. In approaching relaxation this way i have yet to find real limits, there are endless possibilities...not only for relaxation but so many things in this life - learning, love, giving, laughing.

Where are the edges of the mind?
Where is the end of your internal smile?
Can you let go of another muscle?
Can you observe your thoughts and then watch them drift away?
Where are the edges of letting go?

Enjoy your next Savasana.

Below are a few pictures Sonnie took at The Yoga Studio while we were playing, check out the website for more new pictures of the little yellow room where we breath and move.


Gwendolyn said...

I really enjoyed this post! I have a bad habit of skipping savasana (particularly if I'm going to meditate right after the yoga), but I've been making a point to make time for it since I read post. I pretend that the "nap twitches" are my body absorbing everything, and my muscles creating new memories about what they can do that they thought they couldn't.


Gwendolyn said...

oops - "since I read *this* post", is how that should have gone... Check out that super awesome mindfulness, huh? ;)

Sarah and Lydia said...


thanks for are not alone in wanting to fidget or skip savasana - i, too, observe myself skimming over the real purpose of this pose when life gets busy...even when i know that is when i need it most.

thanks for reading, and for commenting - it's nice to hear what people think of the things we are sharing here.
keep on twitchin...