Savasana means corpse pose. Or dead body pose. Out of all the poses “mastered” this one we will never lose. It is a pose that on some days feels so good and on other days feels restless and frightful. I used to skip savasana. I would scurry out of the yoga room as if I had to be somewhere else-another important appointment. Honestly, I just dreaded it. The stillness, the quiet, the loneliness and restlessness it brought on me felt agitating and useless. So, I chose to avert it. I would quietly slip out as if no one would notice. Not even me. The problem was that my aversion to savasana even with my teacher’s advocacy of the benefits of savasana began to feel more irritating than it’s deletion from my practice.
I was stuck.
I knew I needed to put my bones on the ground and rest my young, anxious mind but I wasn’t ready to take action. This feeling of stuckness is a visitor at my door every few years or so. It’s a pattern. And, there is nothing like a good friend to point these things out. Just the other day my friend said, “You know Jen–every three years or so you seem to need a shift, a reset or a significant change of direction.” She pointed out to me that three years ago November 1st I opened the new yoga studio, a few years before that I had a baby, a couple years before that another baby, a new house, then another baby, most likely a few different cars and a baby, another yoga studio…and it goes on. Change is good, one would argue. I like to shake things up, create and re-create. But, when it’s a reaction to something that is just simply rattling my bones perhaps there is more to this story. I wonder. I wonder how to rest my bones and let things fall away. Perhaps this is why Fall is such a vulnerable time. I watch the leaves come to full color and then fall away. There I see the bones of the tree. There all along, but missing from my view. The darker shades of brown, green and grey seem vibrant without the distraction of red, orange and yellow.
Is that it then? Is savasana simply an opportunity to visit myself on the ground level? Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Just be. And, is this enough? Who am I? Who am I if I’m not standing in tree pose, growing, becoming, coloring, brightening, contributing to the forest?
I hear my mother’s voice now saying, Yes, Jen this is enough and it is not only okay but necessary for you to stop, drop and quiet yourself. Ah. Thanks Mom.
In my years of yogahood, I have been moving toward a more daily practice of unsolicited savasana…of being alone, quiet and still on the ground, feet slightly apart and arms out like a snow angel. It usually happens spontaneously around the house-on the living room floor, in the laundry room with the socks strewn all around me, in my daughter’s room while she falls asleep.
It is necessary to feel my bones heavy on the ground. It is healthy to witness the Fall without having to run from it or distract myself from what is really there-the truth of my existence and impermanence. So I sit-rather I lay down and wait and wait and wait without the impulse to get up and reconstruct or build or birth a new project to make me feel more alive.
And, if I wait long enough, rest enough, remember that this too shall pass-the lightness of day and the darkness of night-only then does corpse pose come to me as a friendly reminder that all is well and nothing is wrong.