Not Playing Dead Body Pose
While contorting yourself like a pretzel or doing crazy arm balances are difficult; a seemingly easy posture like savasana can actually be harder than those other postures. Because it requires you to let go and do nothing. Think of nothing. That’s hard. Most people can’t go more than three seconds without a thought popping into their heads. I can’t. Resistance is futile. The best thing to do with thoughts is to let them drift by, like passing clouds. Don’t hold on to them, don’t fight them. Just let them go. Savasana is a key posture. It’s the one posture that every yoga class, no matter in which style of yoga, has. No yoga class is complete without savasana.
The Little Voice Inside Your Head
Everything we’ve do—good or bad—starts with that little voice inside us that says ‘this is what I want to do’, ‘this is what I believe’, ‘this is what I desire.’ That voice can grow into emotions, motivation, and thoughts that together drive us to decision, action and towards our goals. I say ‘little voice’ because it doesn’t make a sound, and we don’t actually hear it, but this voice is not so little. In fact, it’s quite big. It is the heart of a force that propels us towards whatever it is we’ve set our hearts and minds on. And whatever we truly believe, we truly desire, we will get, whether it’s to become a yoga teacher, a rich person or to live like a hippy. So the more aware we are of that voice, the more we can tune in to it and also tune it so that it says things that are right and good for us.
I Forgot About the Water
My water bottle is my security blanket. In every hot yoga class it is planted by my mat and at all the natural water breaks in the series—after eagle, before the first savasana etc.—I eagerly reach for it and gulp water down, relishing each cool, refreshing drop. Tap water never tastes as good as it does during a hot yoga class, even if it is tepid from the heat.
The thought of not having water within reach during class would stress me out.
Well, a few days ago, I got into the first savasana, at the end of the standing series, and after several seconds into the posture—I realized that I had laid down without drinking any water. I hadn’t even thought about drinking before lying down. And I was fine. The standing series flowed seamlessly into the savasana, I was in a zone where I just went with the series—and the thirst just disappeared. Not necessarily because I was any less thirsty, but simply because I stopped thinking about being thirsty. My mind was connected with the practice.
Nothing monumental came out of that experience. And I’m not saying that not drinking during a hot yoga class should be a goal. It shouldn’t. I drank at other points in that class, still bring a water bottle to class, and drink when I need to during class. I don’t pressure myself not to drink. But that niggling fear of being overwhelmed by thirst, that gasping for water, that over reliance of water; all that has subsided a lot. This is mind-body yoga.
Artwork by H Kopp Delaney