Yoga Challenge Day #14: Savasana

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Photo Courtesy of Yoga Journal

What a crazy weather day! In New Orleans, a train blew off the Huey P. Long bridge. The news was showing footage of trees all over the streets of Baton Rouge. My Mother had difficulty getting out of Pierre Part because of all of the downed trees and wind and rain blowing sideways. A friend of mine had a job interview in New Orleans today by candlelight. It was like mini-hurricane, and my street looked like a bomb went off by the time I got home. Branches and leaves were all over the place.

I drove to Watson for my facial with Lisa at the Redneck Spa. I wasn’t going to let a mini-hurricane get in the way of my facial. She pampered me amid the thunder and lightning of round 2. I drove home in the rain, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as this morning. I knew I still needed to do my yoga, but I was really feeling relaxed. I sat all day today at a conference, so I knew I’d better move a little. I compromised. I picked a practice that was half yin and half yang. The instructor promised to get me up and moving in the beginning but bring me to a relaxing close. That sounded like the ticket, and it was.

My favorite yoga pose has always been Savasana – Corpse Pose. It is called Corpse Pose because you are supposed to withdraw all of your senses like a corpse. I often imagine myself with a tag on my toe and sliding into one of those lockers. What would I really feel like at that time? That vision really helps me let go of everything. If I was a corpse, I’d have no worries about tomorrow’s workday, retirement or whether I’m going to hell or not. I would be en route to wherever I’m heading, and I could totally be blank.

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I have loved Savasana from the first time I took a yoga class. Sometimes Corpse Pose is the only pose I practice. It is a complete practice by itself. After a really invigorating practice, Savasana feels amazing. All of my muscles relax after being stretched and contracted. The stress has exited my body so it is pure relaxation. People often leave class before doing Savasana. I can’t fathom why they’d want to skip the most blessedly divine part of practice. Experienced teachers say it is the most important pose of the practice, too. It is in this pose that all of the benefits of the practice are integrated into the body. Yoga is so healthy for the body, but it is the rest afterwards that allows everything to regenerate. It’s as healing as sleep. Most importantly, it is the pose that calms the mind. I usually stay in Savasana a lot longer than the teacher allows because it takes awhile for my mind to calm down. When the body is still, the mind can finally rest. My favorite part of teaching yoga was watching my students arise from Savasana. They were so peaceful and sleepy-eyed. I felt like we were all kids waking up from a nap.

It’s not always that easy to get to that ‘corpse’ state, however. Sometimes my mind wanders. On occasion, I’ve fallen asleep. Tonight, I felt a little edgy still. I got a big fat bolster and put it under my knees and covered up with a blanket. I put a folded blanket under my head for a pillow. I tucked myself in. Bella tried to get under the blanket for a moment and then plopped her fat body onto my abdomen. She felt warm and heavy, and it helped me sink into the floor. I could hear the rain falling outside. I forgot about needing an ark. My breathing slowed. I forgot about July. My thighs let go. I forgot about going to hell. My hips relaxed. My shoulders sunk into the floor. Ahhhhhh …. savasana.

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