The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh Savasana


How long has it taken me to find true comfort in this final pose of my yoga practice?
Many, many months....Like so many around me, my life tends to be motion upon motion, a momentum built so assiduously on tottering twigs, and yet I propel myself with a sense of purpose, of control, of import.

What a delusion!

Nothing like Savasana to remind us that we are not this body, we are not this mind, we are not this flimsy construct, and that is probably why it has taken me so long to respect this final asana, the culmination, it seems, of the body's intense work, the mind's suspension of incessant thought. Surely, Savasana is the memory of stillness, the acceptance of stillness, the stillness of future.

Nowhere to go, No one to be. What a relief!

During my practice the other night, after a 2 week hiatus (too long!), I felt particularly graceful and enlivened, as if there was a lifetime of asana that could be conceived and demonstrated, beyond the usual poses, and I allowed my body to be the guide in heading me toward new ways of moving. It was very liberating, and in Savasana, I found myself smiling broadly, conscious of the upturned corners of my mouth and my open throat, and a calm, open sense of being.

But I think the asana that propelled me to this point was one that just sort of flexed into being, and this is how it goes:
On your back, legs parallel and together, feet flexed, inhalethe arms up and float them down beside the ears, palms up, thumb tips touching.
Become aware of the spaciousness in the ribcage, sink the shoulders down, flatten the should blades and arms, and open from fingertips to toes, bringing awareness to the circle of energy in the body.
Bending the right knee, slide your foot up your left leg as if posing in Tree, allowing your quads to open. Keep your sacrum engaged with the mat.
Now bring your awareness to your hands--bring your hands into Anjali Mudra for a few breaths, then separate your palms, allowing the thumb and index fingers on both hands to gently meet at the tips and open the other fingers softly in Gyan Mudra. This is a mudra that induces peacful concentration and a sense of deep spirituality, while easing away tension, depression and sleepiness.
Keeping the left arm where it is beside the left ear, float the right arm down to the heart space, hand still in Gyan. Rest the hand comfortably on the breast bone and imagine your hand opening the bone.
What is beneath?
Bring your awareness to your breath but maintain the natural breath.
Remain for as long as you like in this pose, then repeat on the other side.

Finally, come into Savasana, and see if you can keep the corners of your mouth from turning up!

This is probably an asana that has been around for thousands of years, and I would like to thank the first Yogi or Yogini who discovered how wonderful it is, and then taught it to someone else.
Try it some time, and tell me what you experience....

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