Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Savasana: The Space Between the Thoughts

By Janine L. Agoglia

Savasana (Corpse Pose) is the most important pose in the entire asana practice. To find out why I think so, click here.

This post is more about the "what" rather than the "why" of Savasana. The process starts by lying down and stilling the body. When the body stops moving, the mind starts to slow down. If you are constantly moving and fidgeting physically, the mind will be in a constant state of reaction; this is the conditioning for stress and discomfort. When the body is still, you have a chance at stilling the mind. Slowing down gets us out of fight or flight and allows us to find peace and contentment. Space.

Initially, you will notice your mind flooding with thoughts, both related to the moment and not. The mind likes to travel to the past and the future, but here you are trying to stay in the present. It may be uncomfortable to be still. It may be uncomfortable notice what comes up--feelings, sensations, emotions. It might be difficult to detach from your thoughts, afterall, we spend the first part of our lives in school learning how to actively, consciously think and analyze. Savasana is about not thinking; instead you are witnessing what is happening in the present moment. Thinking involves effort whereas noticing, or witnessing is like watching your thoughts on a movie screen in front of you. There is separation between the thought and the noticer, room to slow down and breathe. Space.

At first this is an impossible task. Thoughts come at us a mile a minute, sometimes several thoughts pile up and happen simultaneously. Savasana is the practice of noticing: noticing your thoughts without actively thinking. Noticing what is happening in the mind without judgement or analysis. Noticing our habit of creating noise in our head when there doesn't need to be any. Once you've noticed, you can make a different choice. You can choose to "turn the volume down" so that the only thing left is sensation. When you stop "talking," quiet is much easier to find. You may notice that the words are insistent, just keep turning down the volume in your mind. Space.

At some point you may notice moments of no words. Of course once you notice them, the words come flooding back in as you try to grasp the silence. Eventually you will learn to be with those moments and not grab onto them, but rather sit with them. Experiencing the space between the noticer and the thought. Allowing it to be there rather than forcing it to be there. When you "declutter" the mind, it creates room for your own internal wisdom to rise to the surface. You already hold all of the answers to your questions, you just need space to hear them. It is in that space that self-exploration and growth happen.

Practice Savasana every time you practice asana and notice how it affects you, off the mat and in your life.

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she stumbled upon Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email acuyogamama@hotmail.com or visit her website, www.acuyogamama.com.