Savasana is by far the most challenging of all asanas. It is so much more difficult to be than to do. As the name suggests, it is the pose of the corpse or shava. Another word from my mother tongue here… Shavam means corpse in Malayalam.
The minute life leaves the body, there is no person but a dead body, we say the person has gone. Language can be very expressive if we listen carefully.
I had a short morning practice today and wound up in Setuband Sarvangasana as my Savasana. For a brief while, I was a shava. My body was just that, a body, a container. It was interesting to note that the sensation did not disappear as soon as I grew aware of it but I could watch it for a brief bit. Perhaps japa practice is responsible for this new ability to bring gentle attention. There was a distinct sensation or rather a lack of it in the repose. I found my breath was different, a natural retention. I don’t know if this is how it is meant to be but it was what it was. As always, it is a pose which leaves me a certain energy and calm dynamism.
A couple of girls at work have been asking me to teach them some asanas. I’ve been loathe to ‘teach’ anyone since there is so much I do not know and so much that is lacking in my own practice. A bigger fear is hurting or harming someone because of my ignorance. However, they have been asking quite a while and I agreed to show them what I know. They came in early to work today and we had a small session together. One of them even got a change of clothes to practise! The 30 odd minutes felt natural and I think they liked it too. Nothing fancy, just the way I was taught with a few tadasana variations, a couple of seated poses and Savasana. Before the day was out, they took down the names of the asanas to look it up and practise at home. They definitely seemed quite enthusiastic and it felt good to share.
Watching them in Savasana, I could see myself in the way they held themselves, the restlessness of the mind escaping through the body. Letting go is not easy yet in a few minutes the body quietens enough to begin to relax. The skin changes. When my children were little, their skin would soften when they slept or just woke up. In fact, it would turn a few shades lighter and ‘baby soft’ describes that tenderness perfectly. It happens in Savasana too, the softening and relaxing. The adjustment cues help in allowing the body to find its natural repose.
Tadasana and Savasana. Waking and Sleeping. Dharmakshetra in between…