The Real Power Of Savasana
In savasana, as we lay in stillness, we are literally embodying the day we will be corpses. On that day, there really will be nothing left to earn. If we understand savasana, and its implications, we find it the most sobering of all asanas. When we die, our breath is gone and life is gone. When we die, we stop all movement – just as we do in savasana – and the things that we think are important; the things which keep us dancing to the demanding rat race of money making, the things which keep us amped up and juggling the demands on our time are at bay. In savasana, time becomes unimportant even if our sabbatical is brief.
Losing to Gain
While there is nothing left to lose in savasana, there is everything to gain. We finally sink into surrender on the floor. With that surrender, we link to the purpose of our yoga which is union with the deepest, truest, and most sacred self. There we release self-imposed expectations and simply experience our own deepest and truest body, mind, and spirit. We are finally home, we are no longer reaching or grasping or working for something we think we need. In savasana, we have everything we need.
Taking this sabbatical on the mat, nobody is looking at us or evaluating us; we are in the posture of intentional stillness, intentional surrender, and intentional non-doing. When our bodies are disarmed by a strong physical yoga practice, savasana is the treat at the end. It gives us everything we are so often searching and working for. The yogi poet Michelle Lipper wrote in her poem Savasana,
“. . . I lay in peace. In one peace. In the only perfect moment of stillness I own . . .”
Savasana gives us back to ourselves. It is yoga’s great gift and provides everything we could gain at the intersection of self and awareness and presence. At that intersection, our inheritance is a renewed spirit and connection to self. When we connect this way, one result is often a deeper self-insight with a more gracious understanding of others.
Insights from Savasana
A yoga teacher told me how this little death in savasana led to both insight and grace and changed for the better her spiritual perspectives and relationship with a parent. Once when practicing in India, she experienced a deep moment of peace and surrender in savasana and said she felt an overwhelming sense of love for all humanity. At that moment, she said to herself, “I could die right now for anyone.”
One of her parents had a close relationship with Jesus that my teacher friend could not understand. This had been a barrier between mother and daughter and was a source of misunderstanding. But after her moment in savasana, she said she finally understood the figure of Christ and what it means to die for others. It also opened her to understand her mother’s religious belief and paved the way for a better relationship. In savasana, we have everything to gain but it can start with those closest to us.
This is the great gift of yoga. It’s a series of small awakenings where our individual ego is put on the chopping block. There is no better place to embody this ego-death than in savasana, where our conception of self, defined by the adjectives we use to describe our lives, are eradicated piece by little piece. They are replaced with a deep connection – even love – for all humanity. In savasana, when there is nothing left to lose, we become free to simply be in the presence of our bodies and minds then and there. The only moment to be a human being is the moment on the mat. Nobody or nothing else matters.
In the moments of savasana, we finally relinquish control, and this release is to spirituality like rain is to the flower. I hope you find it today on your mat.
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