“To deeply relax the body, we must first rest the mind”
Since the first days of yoga practice, you start to learn different words in Sanskrit. Most of the time those words are really hard to remember. Like Svadhyaya (I still have problems writing it). But there’s one yoga pose name which I learned pretty easily: Savasana.
Savasana comes from the union of two Sanskrit words: Shava, meaning “corpse”, and Asana, meaning “posture” or “seat”. That’s why it is commonly called “corpse pose”. Actually, it looks like it. You lay down on your back, the arms spread at about 45 degree and eyes closed. It is usually done at the end of the yoga practice. It helps the body to reset itself after the body had been stretched, contracted, twisted and inverted. This means that every single muscle of your body can be relaxed, shed their normal habits and let go.
According to scientists, Savasana has amazing benefits on the brain too. During the practice we are bombarded with a lot of new information: new yoga poses, weird Sanskrit names, a lot of words that helps you set your strength and balance. It’s a lot to process in an hour. That’s why Savasana helps the brain too. It’s a way to pause it between the practice and the day that awaits you ahead.
Let’s say it clearly. Savasana may seem an easiest and useless pose. I thought the same. I changed my mind once the teacher explained us the real intentions of Savasana: letting go. For those minutes in which you hold the pose you are supposed to let go the practice that you just had, let go the life that awaits you outside the yoga mat, let go everything. For those minutes you just have to rest, clear your mind, let go. I tried. I seriously tried to clear my mind. Even after an exhausting practice, my mind keeps wander and wonder. I think about what I have to do next, my schedule for the day. If the Savasana takes longer the mind wanders even more: my family, my friends, my future. Everything suddenly pops out and I start to talk to myself. I impose myself to stop wandering but it’s difficult to let go.
We live in a society that always makes us think about the future. When you are young you have to know already what you want to do when you grow up. Once you’ve reached one goal you have always to aim to another. We hardly set our thoughts on the present. It’s always a constant worrying about what’s next without focusing on the present, without really understanding what’s going on in our life, without enjoying the moment.
That’s what I want for my Savasana practice. Being able to really let go. To focus just on myself even for a brief moment in my day. Not focusing on my future, but focusing on me. How do I feel, how am I practicing, how am I enjoying the moment. This is going to be hard, I know it, probably more than keeping the balance on a tree pose but I’m going to try it hard. I’m going to try to just be.