2.5
July 6, 2010

Not So Fast… (Hey, All Of You Serial Savasana Duckers…)

Ah, savasana.

That blissful moment when we enjoy the effects of the practice we have completed and allow it to find its way into our body, mind and spirit. An acceptable, healthy way for even those in 12 step programs to feel a bit stoned, and to quietly acknowledge what we have accomplished.

So—why is it so hard for us to stay and enjoy it sometimes?

Ok, maybe sometimes those 5 minutes really are the make it or break it to our next appointment or assignment. The anticipation of knowing we have to rush to where we are headed can be a real buzz kill, making it nearly impossible to sit still and drink in the bliss. But that’s not always the reason. Restlessness can be very convincing. I know I have spent entire classes planning my escape, plotting the moment when I can slip out unnoticed and hurl myself back into the comfort of the insanity outside. Like an unfinished conversation, leaving mid stream is never satisfying. Allowing the full arch of the asana to give way to meditation always leaves me feeling better—so why would I ever plot against it? Why would I ever consider denying myself the very benefits I signed up to enjoy?

A friend and client of mine enjoyed the release of his most recent movie and the birth of his first child all within days of each other. A healthy baby boy and box office are big reasons to celebrate….but he was finding it hard to figure out just how one is supposed to do that. The pressure to be excited about it all was nearly making him depressed. Much like allowing ourselves savasana, the idea of being happy for ourselves, or pleased with something wonderful happening can be hard to embrace. Certainly we are grateful, but there is almost a superstition that can hide in the folds of that gratitude. The worry is that we will jinx it, send it away or that we don’t deserve it. The idea that we might not deserve harmony or peace is a cousin of self-sabotage—both prevent completion, one by avoiding it, the other by derailing it.

In my classes here in Los Angeles I have some serial savasana duckers, those who leave early every time. Some even pack up as soon as the calorie burning standing series is over—the thought of “sitting and stretching” is a waste of time to them. How does this chaos pass as yoga? How do any of us step from punishment to progress?

Santosha

Santosha is a deep sense of contentment. It’s the flip side to the restlessness of the world that constantly threatens our sense of well being.

Santosha is not born out of acquiring more material wealth, titles or fame—rather, it’s our collective pathway to peace. It’s the antidote to thinking we need to have Jennifer Anniston’s body, or drive a Range Rover before we can be happy. It’s the reason we all need to make the time for savasana, because we have to invite and make room for Santosha in our souls—it doesn’t respond well when we run around with a iPod in one hand and a Starbucks in the other. Through savasana, we find the courage to be alone with ourselves and stay there for a while, and that’s when we start to experience little bits and pieces of Santosha.  We learn to let go of our elusive quest for worldly solutions to our unhappiness, and allow a quieter, more genuine joy come to the surface. Little by little we learn that part of enjoying something is to let it go.

Savasana, after all, is corpse pose, the death of one practice and the birth of the next.

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