The Undoing: Savasana
If you struggle with Savasana or skip it altogether, you are definitely not alone! Savasana is a pose of total relaxation – making it one of the most challenging.
When I first attended a yoga class in my mid-twenties, these words were a signal for me to lie down and think about what I needed to do the rest of the day. My practice took a turn about 3 years later when I found a teacher who was much more interested in the deeper aspects of yoga than the physical, focusing more on breath awareness and the energies of the body... but still I resisted. There was something inside me that could not, or would not, let go.
Initially my own resistance felt physical, rather than psychological. The very act of laying down on the floor was almost impossible for me. Even when I did lay down, my body was rigid and my mind was wondering.
It always seemed like a great irony to me that the word "Savasana" is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning "corpse", because as soon as I lay down on the floor, it would feel like my mind and my body were at their most alive. Restlessness, boredom, even a sudden itch... it seemed that my body was determined to not let me relax. It took a while before I realized that the restlessness was not physical issue but one that originated in my mind.
During most yoga classes where we are guided through a series of postures, our minds are often absorbed with the more of the physical aspects of the practice – alignment, breathing in and out at the right time, balance... let's face it, there’s no time for boredom when you’re trying not to fall over in Warrior 3!
However, when the body is resting on the floor, this focus is suddenly gone. The mind has nothing to "do." This is where boredom, restlessness, irritation, or even a sudden urge to move your arm, tap your fingers, or even a sudden itch appears.
For me, the biggest change occurred when my approach to the idea of what productive was. Sometimes our ideas of self-worth are caught up with the notion of being “busy” and “useful,” and if we’re not filling every moment of the day doing something, then we’re being “unproductive.” We get in the habit of always doing, and so the idea of "being still" feels awkward and uncomfortable.
The shift in my attitude came about partly through meditation; I realized that simply "being" is as productive, if not more so, than "doing." That some of my greatest moments of clarity have been in the moments of silence and stillness of the Undoing. Next time you are in Savasana, try to resist the temptation of doing. Look at it as 5 minutes of "Un-doing." Being may just be the best thing you do for yourself all day!Why is savasana so important?
Release: this pose can help bring about a deep state of rest which can help to release stress and muscular tension
Rejuvenate: after an energetic practice it can help ‘reset’ the body temperature, calm the central nervous system and bring the breath back to normal.
Integrate: it gives you a chance to absorb the benefits of the practice.