One of my life goals is to walk into one of those super-hardcore ‘Power Yoga’ classes wearing a shirt that says
‘I’m only here for Savasana’.
Savasana, you see, is the pose that looks an awful lot like lying comfortably on the floor.
Its name means ‘corpse pose’, if that gives you an idea of the intensity!
It’s usually done at the end of a yoga workout.
And I keep seeing articles about how people think it’s a waste of time, struggle to ‘sit’ through it, skip it, etc.¹
Now, I freely admit that my love of savasana grew out of the fact that it was a welcome relief at the end of a gruelling workout.
Here’s the thing though.
While my knowledge of yoga is really limited, one thing I’ve picked up is that savasana is far more what yoga is about than all the stretching, or ‘powering’, in the world.
Savasana is a time to intentionally BE, and to assimilate the work that you’ve done on your body (or mind) during the rest of the workout.
I’m really, really bad at yoga.
Stretching, I can do.
Strengthening, I can (mostly) do.
But being precisely present,
… attending carefully to my muscles and bones (and my mind!),
… making sure that every move I make is with good, healthy form, and isn’t either too easy or too hard,
… and, oy, the breathing
that stuff I mess up more often than I manage it.
But those are the things, whether in yoga, or weight lifting, gymnastics, dance – or, with relevant modifications, in just about any other activity in life – that actually accomplish the goal!
The ‘savasanas’ in life are where effort transitions to achievements.
Where those tiny rips in hard-worked muscles form new fibres that make us stronger.
Where the information we’ve crammed into our brains becomes knowledge that we own for ourselves.
Where all the research we did straightens out into a winning strategy, a solid plan of action, a quality plot line.
They are also where relationships are built, problems identified and resolved, and well-being secured.
And it’s not just the power-lunch yogis who have missed the the plot on this one!
We live in a society where we are embarrassed to sleep!
Ashamed of resting, or taking a holiday!
But those are just the things that sharpen our minds and repair our bodies!
Think about it: most of the things for which we envy the rich, or dream of doing when we retire, are the things we pride ourselves on not doing now. Something ain’t right there.
We don’t have time for play, and much, much worse, we don’t give our kids time for it.
But play (unstructured! unregulated, for goodness’ sake! real PLAY!) is what builds creativity, critical thinking, the ability to organise and negotiate.
And, incidentally, is what makes life worth living.
So, even though my ‘I’m only here for savasana’ shirt is far more about contrariness than public service, I do think that we-the-public need a wake-up call in the area of life’s savasana opportunities.
Taking time to pause at the end of the yoga practice… or weightlifting practice… or race… or at the end of the project. AKA rebuilding, makes us stronger, smarter, more knowledgeable for the next step.
Taking time to BE so we know who we really are and what we really need saves a lot of energy on addictions, careers we’ll never excel in, or illness. It makes us more useful as human beings too!
Taking time to heal when we are sick, rest when we are worn, think when we are lost, and assimilate when our brains are full, isn’t a luxury, and it isn’t weakness!
It is what makes all that effort produce results!
I can’t help noticing that it looks like an antidote to a lot of what ails us, too.
Maybe it’s time to resume really living our lives, and stop having so much trouble getting through them?
¹ An example: not having one of my own, I waded through nine pages of ‘Yoga’ photos – NINE! – for a image of Savasana. The image you see in this post is the ONE that I found! 😉