At the beginning of teacher training we were asked what our favourite and least favourite yoga pose was. As my least favourite I settled on Tāḍāsana. Though it was a close call between that and Śavāsana. No-one else seemed to get the difficulty I had here; these are simple poses right? Huh, well not so much for me. These poses highlight more than any others the softness required to feel any sense of ease and integrity. If I tense up in Tāḍāsana it feels awkward and I can tell I’m expending energy just holding myself upright. Same in Śavāsana, I know I should soften and just let gravity act on my body.
But I can’t! I find it really difficult to let go like this. And the more I observe the physical tension, the more my brain goes into maximum criticism mode. It’s awful to observe. There are some really harsh thoughts bubbling on. I feel tense just thinking about it!
So how to let go in the body? I try all the tricks I know: scanning the body for tension working my way up or down, tensing muscles then letting them go, imagining the breath dissolving tension, imagining light filling my body, longer exhales than inhales…. All that stuff.
But now I’ve just found a simple solution for Śavāsana at least. Not a very practical one, but something I can work with maybe. I can experience more surrender in this pose if I do it outside! In nature, not in the ‘formal’ setting of the yoga room which somehow seems laden with expectations of what yoga is and what each āsana is (should be).
During first days of teacher training my teacher took us out to a local park. I’ll confess I’m still not sure what this was about — exploring the idea of energy somehow, as well as intending to raise our energies I think after a tiring morning. Anyway I took my shoes off in the park and wandered barefoot and I also lay down for a while watching the clouds, smelling the grass, and feeling the air of my skin. And you know what? This was surely my ‘best’ Śavāsana ever! I just let the ground hold me. Simple! It really is that simple! My body loved this!
A different experience of this pose: Aqua Śavāsana! On holiday in Greece recently I just let myself float on my back in the calmest sea ever on my favourite beach, and of course the sea held me. A lesson in trust and surrender much more than lying down in the park. I think this counts as a positive Śavāsana moment also.
Maybe I can store these experiences in my mind and body and settle into Śavāsana better when I’m on my mat.