Mrtasana. Corpse pose. Lying still as if dead.
At the studio, Dianne likes to remind us that yoga is the only exercise in which it is ok to lie down and rest. How great is that!
Dr. David Posen is a physician that specializes in stress. In his books, he talks about giving oneself permission to do (or not to do) things. It was a revelation to learn that technique. I often feel the pull of my to-do list, then I remember to allow myself to take a break.
One of Dr. Posen’s stories was about a man that worked 6 days a week. On his one day off, he felt he should spend it with his wife and children. But his mind would drift to his golf game and he would seem distracted to his family all day long. He went to the doctor and explained his dilemma. The doctor wrote a “prescription” that permitted his patient to play one round of golf in the morning on his day off. What happened? The man was more focused and present for the rest of the day with his family.
I give myself permission during yoga to be still in savasana and observe my thoughts. The prescription is to allow myself to take rest for a little while and mindfully rejoin the world later. Thinking this way really worked for me.
It’s ok not to do anything during savasana. Society’s demands can drive me into multi-tasking such that it seems abnormal to lie still on my back and do nothing but breathe. How very sad. Have I forgotten how to be bored? I have memories in my childhood of feeling bored but not in a mind-numbing sort of way. Maybe “bored” is the wrong word to use. My childhood self was simply “being”.
I usually can lie quietly without much fidgeting but it’s my mind that won’t be still. I am learning to accept this and to let the thoughts move in and out of my awareness. All those thoughts racing inside my head are normal. I am relieved to know that I am not crazy! The lesson for me here is how I react or do not react to these mind stories.
Transitions, by William Bridges, talks about job change. Your work life may go through a “death”, then a period of being lost and wandering, and finally a “birth” into a new career. When I was going through my transition back to being a full-time small animal vet, I know that I experienced these stages. Savasana is simply the physical representation of my career over the last few years.
I wonder what it would be like to lie in savasana for an entire yoga class?