Ah savasana. The dark chocolate of yoga. Your hard work is done, and it’s nap time. Right? Well, sort of.
Savasana literally means “the seat of the corpse.” Diligent yogis lie down, spread out, and die for just a short while before getting up and moving on with their days. Weird; perfect.
But let’s get honest. How many of us actually act the corpse during savasana? Do you sometimes find yourself alive with thought during those precious resting moments? Raise your hand if you’ve caught yourself making grocery lists, planning your week, replaying a conversation, or fantasizing in general during savasana.
Me too. And noticing is the first step to a more deadly savasana. The second step is to actively stop doing all of that and get down and dirty into your rest time. Dig deep, it’s time to die a little.
Savasana is a full-body, -mind, and –spirit release. Know what you’re up to: your job is to release all muscular work and mental effort, and dissolve into the ground. And by releasing completely, you make space for your unconscious body to integrate, assimilate, and rearrange all of the good stuff you’ve done in your yoga practice. In other words, give up, lie down, and get into the receiving zone. Then melt away as the benefits of your practice flow into you effortlessly.
That , dear readers, is the key: in savasana, there must be no effort at all. And effortlessness is a practice. The only action that you take is the action to “not” do; to notice you’re doing, then to stop doing, to stop doing some more, and then to stop noticing while you’re at it. Maybe you’ve been to this magical not-doing place before. It’s special.
In fact, a great yoga class can be just the recipe for getting into that special “nowhere” place. You’re listening to your breath, you’re moving rigorously, pushing boundaries, trying new things, and suddenly you’re lying on the floor with hardly any sense of up, down, or what’s for dinner. Ah, savasana.
But if you ever get lost on your way to corpse pose, here’s my roadmap back to nothingness.
Now listen carefully: stop trying. If you find yourself doing something – thinking, planning, adjusting, judging, rethinking, anything! – watch yourself, acknowledge that you are doing the action, then breathe in, breathe out and stop doing it. Tell yourself, savasana is not the time to work on this. Now is the time for absolute inaction. Remain unconcerned. Take rest. Take rest. Take rest.
And by consciously noticing and releasing your efforts, you discover how to “not-do,” and suddenly you are doing savasana. The anti-pose. The most difficult pose.