Wednesday, December 30, 2009

January Monthly Theme: Savasana

Savasana is a yoga asana often used to begin or conclude a yoga session. It is a relaxing posture intended to rejuvenate one's body, mind and spirit. In Savasana, our bodies integrate and assimilate what we have just practiced. It is about letting go completely. Proper relaxation is essential for the health of our mind and body and for clarity of thought for making good choices. The obstacles to a good Savasana are sleep, boredom, mental agitation, and the ultimate obstacle: thinking you don't need Savasana anymore. Mental agitation and tension are obstacles that make us miss the point of life's journey.

As Sri, K. Pattbhi Jois says, “Most difficult for students, not waking, not sleeping.” It may be the most difficult asana to master, yet the focus is simple -- all you do is relax every body part. If you get distracted or agitated, you can always come back to this basis. Just undo, unwind, let go totally. Place yourself carefully in the pose, and then just get out of the way and observe. Savasana raises our consciousness and intention to a higher, more spiritual plane. In these moments, we feel how yoga is a spiritual science, not a physical work out. Sometimes in Savasana you get a taste of the unconditioned mind, with no thoughts arising, just bare awareness. When you achieve peace in Savasana, remind yourself that you can call upon this feeling, contact this place inside you, at any time during the day.

The aim of yoga practice in daily life is to live vividly from moment to moment without being stuck in thinking or the idea of not-thinking. Wood floor, open window, blanket, cushion, t-shirt, wool socks – there is something profound just here. We are not trying to create an experience; we are making room for experience to happen. Experience, like the present moment, is always waiting for a place to happen. The architecture of savasana requires us to continually let the ground we are lying down on, literally the ground of our thoughts and our bodies, to fall away, until the constructs that frame our experience pass on. This is an act of both dying and being born. Our imagination makes us very busy exploring the world of choices. In the end, there will be no choice, just death. So in the center of your bumbling human life, where you are always looking around for something better, notice how the present moment is just a small death away. Savasana is the art of practicing our death, little by little, every day. “If student does not get up from savasana,” says Pattabhi Jois, “or lifting student up (and he/she) is like a stiff board, savasana is correct.”

“…every day, a little ‘bit dying.” Pattabhi Jois