You might consider this a funny title for a yoga blog post… yoga is all about movement and stretching, isn’t it? Well, yes but it is so much more.
It was during a class this week that I started pondering how sometimes it takes effort to just be still. Yes, I’m aware that I was supposed to be clearing my mind and focusing on my breathing… see, my point exactly!
Of course there are the tired days and the super challenging classes when it’s all we can do to get through to collapse in a happy heap for Shavasana, but what about the days we just make it to class on time feeling a bit frazzled? On hectic days it can take some concentration and deliberation to calm our breathing and still the mind and I really do think there’s an art to it.
It is the nature of our minds to jump around and keep working but during these precious few minutes it is our job to lie quietly and relax. I find it useful to allow any intrusive thoughts to float by rather than trying to stop them. Acknowledge the interruption and let it go, bringing your mind back to your breathing. Most importantly just enjoy the pose, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Shavasana (or corpse pose) is wonderful for relieving stress. It gives time for the yoga workout to sink in and for the body to reset itself. It can reduce blood pressure and helps with anxiety and insomnia. I always look forward to an amazing night’s sleep after a yoga class.
In the classic pose, we lie out flat on the ground with no support but this is not necessarily comfortable for everyone and comfort is essential in this asana. There are many variations to try, depending on how your body feels on any given day, like putting a blanket under your head or a bolster under your knees. I love when our instructor reminds us to grab a blanket to ensure we are warm and cozy.
Remember Shavasana is more than just time for a nap or to contemplate whatever thoughts are floating around your head. It requires attention and deliberation to let go and release yourself to the pose, to the point that you will dread hearing your teacher telling you to move your fingers and toes again!
Understandably, it might not always be easy to find the time to stretch on the floor and switch off but just taking a minute for a few deep breaths, closing your eyes or focusing on a beautiful scene (I love the sea) can have a surprisingly relaxing effect.
Grab every opportunity you can to just appreciate something happy or beautiful or to lose yourself in a moment. Breathe and let go, then make it a habit!