Another post related to my yoga quest here in Boston,
inspired by the overwhelming feeling of
simply melting into the mat, peeling away the
layers of the physical body, until only pure
awareness remained - during savasana yesterday.
Yes, yes, yes!
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “to join” or “to unite.” Yoga is physical practice that recruits the breath to unite the body/mind/spirit. Some refer to yoga as moving meditation.
A yoga class typically consists of an opening segment where the teacher calls upon the individuals to transition from the activities of the day-to-day outer world, by inviting each person to drop into a state of inner awareness. Not unlike what we do when we come together for our Monday meditation group, right? Then, the teacher will take the class through the actual practice of the postures, also known as poses or asanas.
Finally, during any respectable yoga class, you will have an opportunity to practice a posture known as savasana or corpse pose. During savasana, you lie comfortable and still on your mat. You want to remain completely alert and awake, but totally relaxed, hovering in that place somewhere between sleep and effort. Similar to meditation, right?
On one hand, savasana is considered the most important part of yoga practice. This is because during this posture the body/mind most deeply and fully integrates the benefits of the practice. On the other hand, savasana is considered to be one of the most difficult postures. I think you can see why – relaxed yet alert – sounds simple, not at all easy.
Why corpse pose? I was taught that savasana (corpse pose) is an opportunity to “die” to our old ways of living,, you know - distracted (ignorant), avoidant, attached. During savasana we can completely let go, and therefore be “born” into the experience of the present moment. We are all dying a little all day, every day. Each breath is a new beginning – a rebirth, so to speak.
So whether it’s yoga or meditation or both, as Jon Kabat-Zinn has said – “practice like your life depends on it, because it does.”