// Yoga: Yoke, Union, Unite.
//Savasana (shah-VAHS-uh-nuh): Corpse Pose
To begin, I thought I would start with the end. That is, the end of our Yoga practice on the mat, which is the beginning of our practice off the mat. To understand the intent behind savasana (final relaxation) we must first have a more basic understanding of the purpose behind Yoga. Let me emphasizes “basic,” It is challenging enough to describe Yoga in a lifetime, let alone a paragraph.
Yoga can be translated as to yoke, to form union, or to unite. It is the sacred art and science of bringing together. This can manifest in a variety of ways: our breath to our body, our mind to our heart, our intellect to our wisdom, ourselves to others, or our humanity to a creator. Creating continuity in our lives and connecting to ourselves, others, and a purpose beyond us, is a challenge and takes work. Through the practice of Yoga, we are invited to observe our bodies and the movements of our own mind with hope that we can begin to dissolve the barriers that keep us from experiencing true being and from developing a more mature mind.
The object of savasana is to lie on your back and be still in both mind and body, like that of a corpse. Working your attention over your body to release any place of tension. Relaxing through your jaw, in between your eyebrows, and through your shoulder and hips. Bringing stillness to the body is relatively easy, especially after a vigorous physical practice, but bringing stillness to what we are holding onto in the mind, is much more difficult. B.K.S Iyengar in Light on Yoga, describes savasana as one of the most challenging postures to master in Yoga.
As we settle into final relaxation, into savasana, our mind begins to move, and we begin to attach our identity to thoughts, feelings, past experiences, or events to come; and, in the process, it is only natural to begin to make judgements or develop expectations. By clinging to these manifestations, instead of letting them go, we step out of the present and forget who we are and what our place is in this world. When we are able to allow our minds to participate in a full conscious relaxation, we can then fully recharge and refresh.
I was asked the other day what my favorite Yoga posture is. I said savasana, first as a joke, and then truly believing it. Finding moments of rest, true rest, in our daily lives is rare, but extremely important. It is when we rest that we rebuild our strength, regain our courage, and relinquish our fears and past hurts. When we allow ourselves to submit to what is and to the experience of peace, we can begin to find ways to better love ourselves and honor others.