The Art of Shavasana
Updated: May 18, 2019
For those of you who don't know what shavasana means, it is a resting pose at the end of a yoga session where you fully relax and rest. It's my favorite pose of yoga, and not because I am lazy but because throughout our hectic daily schedule, I find myself wanting to get to that place of relaxation. And it really feels good after a strenuous flow session.
In Sanskrit, shava means "corpse" and asana means "posture". The corpse pose. It is done by lying on your back, full length on the ground with your legs and arms relaxed and stretched out. You release the tension and fatigue from other asanas, and you bring calmness to the mind. It is to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.
In yoga class, the teacher always instructs us to "surrender" while in shavasana. At first, I thought no, I'll never surrender (as in the lyrics of Corey Hart's song 'Never Surrender'. I love that song- it got me through some tough times as a child). No, I was mistaken. She didn't mean to "give up hope", but surrender is to "let go".
The art of shavasana is the art of letting go-
Letting go of your fear of failure
Letting go of not having enough money
Letting go of ideas of perfection
...of hurt of the past
...of worry about tomorrow.
In order to let go, you have to live in the present moment, not the past or future. You have to be living in this very second. Some people try to do this by abusing alcohol and drugs, or gambling.
Or in a better way, they Netflix and chill, both figuratively and literally. (Yes, sex/orgasm does help). One favorite method of mine is escaping into movies and shows- There are really good shows these days on Netflix! But then I binge watch and binge eat and that doesn't help me in the long run.
Other healthier ways would be to take a walk or be immersed in nature. Last week I was in a yoga retreat in Mexico and I took long walks on the beach and the roaring waves soothed me. Similarly, you can hike in the woods, swim in a lake, or kayak in the sea. Exercise in general is a healthy way to release tension. And so are massages, facials, and other spa services. Although all these relaxation techniques are momentary, the more you do them, the better you will get at shavasana. This is an art and a practice. A simple and quick way is daily 5 minute meditations when you can practice being the moment and practice the art of letting go. For those of you who like tech, some good meditation apps for your phone are Headspace and Calm. Check them out as a ways to begin your meditation practice.
Letting go doesn't mean you don't work hard to obtain your goals, or strive to be a better person. But it means you acknowledge some things are beyond your control and you let go of that control.
Who or what do you give it to, you may ask? Where does the worry go? If you are religious, it would be to your god. For me, it goes to the universe. I believe in synchronicity, an order and reason for our lives. And when I surrender, I surrender to this infinity that I call love.
For more information about stress management and meditation, contact me or better yet, attend one of Island Trek Fitness retreats this year! Visit www.islandtrekfitness.com for more information.