We’ve all been there: emotionally tense and physically fatigued but we came anyways. We joke before class that we want to hang out in savasana all practice because it’s a piece of cake, right? I’ve come to learn that in contrary, it is a very challenging pose. In fact, B.K.S Iyengar refers to savasana as the most difficult of asanas.
It wasn’t until after a year of steady practice [!] that I learned that sleeping in savasana wasn’t really the best thing. What? But it feels so, so, so, so good. Turns out so many of us fall asleep because we don’t know any other form of relaxation except for sleep. [Ouch!]
The truth is [dun, dun, dun], even after years of practicing and now teaching, I still have days when I drift away from my state of awareness. Like many people in today’s society, I have a hectic schedule. I wake up at 4am almost every single day, lead a very active lifestyle, and sometimes after a rigorous practice at the end of the day, fatigue will snatch me.
On top of all that, this past week I have been battling desynchronosis. That’s a fancy, scientific word for jet lag. My body’s natural patterns have been throwing a tantrum and I’ve been dealing with headaches, disorientation, grogginess, irritability and fatigue. It’s like the perfect savasana storm…
I’ve even tried to rationalize with fatigue. I’ve placed my body down and promised it sleepafter savasana, after we do this little work, and drive home, and brush our teeth and… I don’t even realize how quickly I’ve drifted off until I hear a quite voice guiding me to re-awaken the body.
Sometimes it’s quite alarming, like falling asleep at the wheel, realizing my eyes were closed only when I’ve begun to re-open them. That has also happened to me this week. Terrifying, to say the least and I’ve been taking more naps to try to off-set this.
When these moments do occur in practice, I try my best to not be hard on myself. In fact, I let it be a reminder that I need to take better care. Why am I so fatigued? Do I need to get more sleep (usually, that’s a yes), do I need to eat more nutritious food, is my mental chatter so loud that subconsciously I want to turn down the volume by just passing out? Do I feel overwhelmed or disconnected?
To truly find savasana, total relaxation, takes years and years of practice and it’s much more subtle than sleep or even rest. It demands the student to be fully present and that’s not an easy task. Therefore, be patient with yourself.
If you feel fidgety, sleepy, or anxious to get out of the pose, become aware of what is happening: the process, the thoughts, the sensations. Whatever you do, stay there, stay with it. Whether you can’t relax at all or drift off to La-La land, don’t get frustrated.
You are doing your work, you made it to the mat, and for that you need to be thankful and kind to yourself. Keep practicing your savasana and trust that your yoga will carry you. That’s what I am doing this week!
One last thing, if you do have to leave class early or are practicing at home without guidance, always take a mini-savasana for yourself. Don’t skip it!
Mona Lisa Godfrey was born in Riga, Latvia, and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2000 she and her family moved to California. The struggle of constant movement at a young age, made Mona turn to dance and athletics for refuge. Initially drawn to the physical aspects of yoga, her practice eventually took a sharp turn when she began attending regular classes to heal an injury from a car accident. Over time, she noticed that the most significant impact of her yoga was happening off the mat.
The practice began to transform her life and she developed a more meaningful and spiritual relationship with herself and others. She continues to broaden her studies and enrich her practice with the help of renowned teachers in the OC and LA areas. Mona still enjoys being a student just as much as a teacher, and invites you to meet her on the mat! Learn more at www.monagodfrey.com.