Years ago, one of my fellow teachers said to me, “if you can’t make five minutes for yourself, take an hour. You need it!” I never forgot it. Those words ring true in so many lives, the exact way they did for me that day.
With nowhere to go, and nothing to do, how do we meet ourselves in relaxation? Our Yoga practice helps us discover what directs us and also what blocks us from the gift of presence, our ability to Be.
This conscious surrender pose, savasana, helps us to cultivate a clear mind. An analogy I liked related the posture to turning off the computer when problems arise. After a reboot, it functions much better. Practice the art of doing nothing the next time you are headed for savasana, here are a few tips to make your dedicated rest the very best!
1. Stretch it out- There is a reason this pose comes last. The more attentive we are to the poses before savasana, the more willing and open our body will be for rest. Present your best self to each preceding posture, and always feel free to have creative control to find any finishing stretches your body is craving.
2. Breathe into it- Before dropping off completely, observe the effects of your practice by taking 3-5 intentional deep breaths right when you are arriving into savasana. Each exhale can seal you heavier into your space.
3. Do a body scan- During these few breaths, it can be helpful to notice any place willing to let go of any resistance or effort. Sometimes we do not know we are holding something tight until we really check in and analyze ourselves.
4. Just be- Often at night time right before falling asleep, my mind is at peak performance. Ideas and thoughts of past, present, and future are all too available. I remind myself, “Right now, you are sleeping so you can better handle those things tomorrow.” Same goes for our resting poses, be in the rest- fully. That way we can better handle questions, tasks and life to come.
Savasana may seem like nap time at the end of a Yoga class, but this posture is imperative for integrating the benefits of the practice. In today’s hustle bustle type of culture, one fine skill is simply being.
“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot
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