I came to yoga for savasana today.
I frequently come to yoga for savasana, but today I didn’t think that was why I was going. I thought I was going to learn about a form I’d never tried; I thought I was going to feel my body develop relationship with discipline; I thought I was going to gather my practice into my lungs.
I didn’t think today was about the savas (shah-VAHS).
I found physical moments during that hour and a half that were absolutely glorious—moments in standing half-bow where I thought, there is no possible way I can extend any deeper, but then I did. I found Let’s do it! moments where I might normally think, Come on, teacher, you’ve got to be kidding me!
All of that was to say: the physical practice felt good and all that, but it was really distracted.
It was distracted because I also caught myself in moments of wondering what other people in my life were doing and/or thinking right now; whether I spent my time during the day in the most effective way possible; about this thing that pisses me off and this other thing that pisses me off, too. It was like every pose I entered into was a contract with myself that I was going to undergo extreme emotional chaos.
This is not the first time I’ve had a distracted practice.
But after having quite a few of them, I think the distracted practices are maybe even more important than the super focused yogi-disciplined practices where we have to check ourselves for levitation moment to moment because enlightenment is about to springboard our body to a hover.
The distracted practices are the down and dirty ones. They are the ones where sometimes our insides grunt from shape to shape, and sometimes we collapse down onto the mat and look at our teacher just to check in–just so everyone knows that things are okay, but, hey, tonight is not my unity-for-all-peace-like-a-river-let’s-hold-hands-and-tell-each-other-we-love-each-other-later-asana-jamboree night at yoga–tonight is the night of blood and sweat.
Tonight is the night I will remember I am made of salt water and I can roar like the most disgruntled currents.
Tonight is the night where I will enter into my forward folds and feel like a giant asshole because I just realized I transitioned into this pose feeling like a show-off. Tonight is the night that binding and squeezing into eagle pose will remind me of all the times I’ve felt pissed off in the recent past and how vindicated I am to have felt that way. Tonight is the night where back-bending will be intensified beyond my wildest expectations of my practice and I will feel complete release and complete rejuvenation, but as soon as I relax out of the sequence I will come into an unrelated thought and wonder if people in this world are only just pretending to like me.
The distracted practices are like dreams—they make absolutely no sense, but upon further inspection and intent of curiosity, they make all the sense in the world. The distracted practices are the ones that will really show us how we’re doing, especially the stitching that we’ve been folding over and avoiding for a while.
And although the distracted practices sometimes feel like a fight, and they sometimes feel unkind, there’s always one more chance.
I say there is always one more chance, because of capital-G.o.d.
I don’t know if my God has a name or a gender or a set of personality characteristics. I don’t know if my God is the universe or a tree or a man in the sky or a ghost-light in a theatre or you or me (although I suspect God is all of those things). But tonight, God is kindness. Tonight, God is savas.
And when I’ve done 90 minutes of asana that has felt exhilarating and depleting and encouraging and like failure all at once, God still says, hey, kid, I will always be kind to you, even if you are not kind to yourself–here, lie down on this mat of yours and take your savas, and I don’t care how long you stay here, but stay here until your bones break this floor.
I took my body (which is my prayer, you know) and let it dangle right on top of the earth. I didn’t so much snuggle down as the earth reached up and clawed me into her.
My mind had just spent 90 minutes running around to all the places I’d rather it stay away from. My heart had just spent 90 minutes completely eclipsed—completely cut out of a practice that aims to purify and strengthen it’s beautiful, delicate beating.
But then I felt something different. I felt the dissipation of the practice. I felt complete and total forgiveness of myself. I felt the acceptance of my practice—with all the distractions and the bah-hum-bug thoughts (I guess it’s the time of year for those)—exactly the way it happened.
I have no choice to accept it, because it’s all beautiful. Because at the end of it all (and I mean at the end of it all), God will always give me my savas, and I will always say, Alright, you said it was okay for me to break this floor, let’s do it.
A little piece of God nestled inside of Travis as he said before he left, Take as much time as you want in your corpse pose, the room is yours, Namaste.
And so I stayed. I stayed and I stayed and I stayed. And then I wanted to get up, but stayed a little longer, just to see what would happen—just to feel my weight get a little denser into mommy-earth-love.
I stayed until a little sparkle of gratitude flittered through and out of my system. I stayed and watched my pissed-of attitude drip out of sweat glands. I stayed and felt completely alone as everyone else shuffled back into their evenings without me.
I stayed until I let my bones break this floor.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Photo: Lululemon athletica on Flickr.