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November 10, 2011

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit there! ~ Jo Beth Richards

Let me begin by saying that yoga offers tremendous benefits to our bodies, especially in working to strengthen and lengthen muscles simultaneously. There is nothing wrong with showing up to yoga, at first, because you are looking at strictly the physical benefits. However, as teachers denying the fact that yoga seeps into our souls & minds is blasphemous to what yoga stands for.

Too often today I see people getting up 5 minutes before class ends and leaving. Sometimes I think, oh they must be in a hurry, maybe they have an important dinner or plans they have to get to. But oh wait, what is the last 5 minutes of yoga class? Savasana! When yoga gets warped into the latest ‘exercise craze’ our students begin to view savasana as something that is unnecessary because they aren’t moving & sweating and burning off those dreaded calories.

But out of everything we do in a yoga practice savasana is the most important and I am not afraid to say it! I am a power yoga teacher; my students come in wanting to sweat and work hard. Despite this I always tell them savasana is what makes your practice work! Without those 5-10 minutes in stillness and quiet we walk out of the studios with our bodies & minds spinning, not knowing where they will land.

The ‘yogacising’ phenomenon fits really well into our go-go culture. For most of us, we think that sitting still is unproductive and generally a waste of time. How will we ever get anything done, if we take time to sit is stillness and quiet? We come to yoga to move fast, work hard, and walk out feeling like we have accomplished something. We should all walk out of the studio feeling freer, lighter and more open; but to get that feeling our mind & body need to have come together.

When we turn yoga into pure exercise it is no longer yoga. Yoga is meant to transform the body, but more importantly to transform the mind! Savasana seals in all the goodness that we wring from our practice. It brings us back to square one, letting our mind and body settle and taps our spirits back into their divine truth. Our human natures of ‘go, go, go’ don’t always understand savsana but they need savasana. Our lives are busy enough without adding yoga as just another stimulant. The truth of yoga lies within us, with our practice we are granted the gift to unlock that key, and if we purely focus on the physical the box will remain unopened.

We cannot underestimate the power of stillness and quiet in our lives. We all need to take the time to listen to ourselves, to listen to the Universe. Our time in savasana grants us the gift, which we may not have any other time of day, to be with ourselves with no distraction. To get all the nutrients from our practice we need savasana, it is like the beautiful icing that holds the cake together! Without that time we crumble & scramble, but with it, with arise from our yoga practice the way we were meant to, freed & renewed!

Photo: thencamethedawn.wordpress.com, thatsfit.com

Led to yoga by the desire to try something new, Jo Beth has been practicing yoga since 2003. She received her 200 hour yoga teacher certification through Yoga Alliance & Asheville Yoga Center in 2009. Jo Beth also has her Yin Yoga teacher certification. She has studied flow yoga for many years. In addition to her flow teachings she practiced Iyengar exclusively for 2 years at the Knoxville Yoga Center. Jo Beth has studied with many teachers including Stephanie Keach, Shala Worsley, Ashley Turner, and Shiva Rea. Through her teacher training, past & continuing, Jo Beth has come to a fuller understanding of herself; realizing that true love can be shared through yoga. Her heart is called to spread the amazing gifts that have been given to her through yoga practice. Jo Beth believes that every one and every BODY can do yoga and can be helped by yoga. Her classes explore a creative flow, and are always about accepting yourself & having fun!

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