There was a time when I hated Savasana. It was about five years ago when my yoga practice felt more like a yoga race.
When I went to a yoga studio I was under the direction of a skilled teacher. I am good at following instructions for the most part, so when she told us to breathe, I did. When she told us to hold a pose, I did.
When at the end of the hour long class she told us to lie on our backs and reap the benefits of our practice while lying down in Savasana or corpse pose- I followed along because everyone else was doing it, so I had actual permission to let go and relax.
My other subliminal reasoning may have been that I paid $15 for the class, so leaving before Savasana would be the equivalent of paying for a three-course meal and not eating dessert.
My own home practice was a different story. I would rush through the yoga poses without the patience I had found in class. I knew I was supposed to hold the poses for a certain number of breaths. I knew I was supposed to notice my reaction to whatever thoughts or emotions would arise while I stayed in a posture.
Instead, when no one was watching and without a community to practice with- I admit, I actually cheated. I rushed through to the next pose as soon as I got bored of the one I was currently in.
My desire to "get there already" was stronger than my desire to accept and honor where I actually was in the moment. It felt like my mind was saying, "Come on keep it moving Myrite. No time for stillness here."
By the end of the practice, when I was supposed to reap the rewards by resting in Savasana (where as you might recall, all I had to do was lie on my back with my eyes closed) I skipped it entirely.
I rolled up my mat thinking: "Who has time for this? I have things to do. I have emails to write and clients to get back to!" I named every excuse I had in me, put away my mat and jumped in the shower.
Yoga was more like a stretching exercise routine than a spiritual practice and I was clearly missing the point.
There is a saying that the practice of yoga is both "on and off the mat." I get that now.
It's similar to what I tell my clients, "The way you do one thing is the way you do everything."
So, how was I practicing yoga at the time? I was speeding so fast the yoga police should have ticketed me. At the time, I was valuing action more than intention. As long as I was busy doing something, it didn't matter that I was doing it so mindlessly.
Curious, I looked up what "Savasana" meant on Wikipedia. And here was the first sentence of the entry: Savasana is perhaps the most important part of yoga practice.
The. Most. Important. Part.
I can now look back at that time in my life and gently place the palm of my hand to my forehead in WhatWasIRushingFor pose (a new pose I just came up with).
A conversation I recently had with a client reminded me of this impatient phase of my life. Except she had the self-awareness I lacked.
She recognized that when she didn't carve time out for herself, she would end up feeling resentful and overwhelmed, eventually taking out her frustration on her family.
She recognized that she was too busy and needed something to help restore her sanity, her balance and her health. So her solution was to add more "nothing time" to her schedule. Curious, I asked,
"So what will you do in that nothing time?" There was a long pause followed by laughter.
She knew that making space for "Savasana" was as important as scheduling when she would pick her kids up from school.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the busyness, that we don't know how to be "un-busy." We don't know how to create the sacred space around us to be idle. We actually see idleness as being unproductive!
So here's your Om-work for this week: Learn how to veg out. I don't mean sitting in front of the TV watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix. I mean doing nothing with awareness. You may not have a yoga teacher to massage rose oil into your temples, playing Krishna Das and telling you to relax but here are some ideas of how you can be your own teacher and make space for vegging out mindfully.
I'm curious, which one of these suggestions are you planning to try? I love hearing from you (and we can always learn from each other) so feel free to leave a comment about with where you feel challenged when it comes to making time for your Self.