Savasana: a cure for the restless mind-body
Savasana. Say it with me. Sa. vas. an. aaaah. It is the period at the end of every good yoga asana sequence. One that I eagerly look forward too. Savasana is a release, it is a letting go, and an embracing of what is.
While I regularly practice this pose, recently it has been my medicine. Week why-bother-counting-anymore on lockdown, and without a clear end in sight, I’ve noticed a feeling of restlessness brewing. My mind suggests I am too rested though I know this isn’t the case.
Aimlessly wandering around my apartment, I want to dance, shake and scream! Then after I’ve done all of these things, first one at a time and then all together, I bake. These avoidance strategies can only distract me for so long and soon I am unable to ignore it any longer. I yield to the restlessness knocking at the back of my consciousness.
I gather my props, and begin assembling on the rug. I cover my eyes, set my timer, tuck in, and exhale. I notice the way it feels to lie on my back, I notice breath mercifully moving in and out of my body, and suddenly, it hits me. The restlessness I’ve been feeling is actually agitation. I want to turn away, to avoid, but in doing so I turn away from truth.
Agitation is uncomfortable and when I broach the bank of this vast emotion, the real source of my discomfort begins to surface: fear, anxiety and uncertainty, familiar companions since the pandemic began.
I recognize this and then notice the tension in my right leg. I take a breath and become aware of how good it feels to simply rest. I let myself be seduced by the pleasure of doing nothing and then I begin to drift into the space between waking and sleeping. Here, the unconscious mind reigns supreme and I, Meg, am only along for the ride.
In this way I practice, sometimes twice a day. Notice, reflect, return to the physical, let go, and repeat. In this way I begin to observe the mind I trust so readily: scared, confused and wanting so badly to cling to certainty. How human of me.
“Sava,” translates to corps. Ultimately the practice of Savasana prepares one for the final uncertainty, death. For some, this may seem morbid but we experience death more often than we realize. Death is simply the end of a cycle. I must exhale for inhalation to arise.
In this posture, the head and the heart are on the same level, giving the mind and body the opportunity to realign and find balance. It is a gift. I received this gift from Judith Hanson Lasater, and now every time I teach I prioritize this pose so I may share this gift with you.
Savasana is the ultimate. It asks nothing of you. No uniform, body shape, background, experience or understanding. You don’t even need a yoga mat. Simply elevate your legs on the couch, place a small cushion under your head, cover your eyes, and set a timer for 20 minutes.
Props offer comfort and ease, allowing the practitioner to stay longer, which is why I use them. Use what you have. This practice isn’t meant to be perfect. Rather, it reveals what is and what has always been. The certainty of uncertainly. Our beauty and fear and resilience. Keep hope and keep practicing. We are in this together.
May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you live with ease.
- practice in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed from outside influence
- lie down on padded flooring such as a carpet or thick mat
- position the head in comfortably, tucking the chin lower than the forehead
- cover eyes & body
- set timer for 20 minutes