How often do you really just take time for yourself and do nothing? Just completely relax?
Give in and enjoy the peace?
I am guessing rarely. Because there is so much to cram in right?
We all live our lives at this frantic pace trying to fit 101 things into each day, setting ourselves goals and targets and deadlines. Why? Why do we put all this pressure on ourselves with little time to just "Stop and smell the flowers"? That is until something serious happens to make us realise that we have pushed ourselves too far. We have bags the size of Wales under our eyes, or we have finally found our car keys in the fridge for the third day running, or worse still, we have tonsillitis or flu, or, I don't know, rickets, because we have somehow let our immune system run down to the point where it couldn't fight back against a blister on our texting thumb! Then, and only then do we get the message and curl up on the sofa for a week, or take that well earned 3 days away in a Scottish spa retreat. But should it really come to that? No!!!!
Savasana is the most wonderful yoga pose there is!
They say it is the easiest pose to do but the hardest to master and let me tell you, they, whoever "they" are, are completely right. Also known as corpse pose, this is a pose of total relaxation that rejuvenates the mind and body. Some say it is actually better than sleep. And the greatest part is that you don't have to twist yourself into a pretzel! All you do is lie on your back on a comfy mat with cosy clothes on keeping you all toasty warm and just breathe. Could it be more simple? I mean you can get more technical of you like. You can prepare by moving the flesh of your butt down towards your feet and press your elbows into the mat to open your chest a little. You can add a bolster under your knees if you have back problems which will make the pose more comfortable. You can even place a lavender eye pillow over your eyes to induce calm and relaxation. ( My lovely friend Shelley makes the most beautiful lavender eye pillows from gorgeous Chinese silk, that she happened to have lying around the house...as you do! Let me know if you are interested in getting one and I can give you her info. I am like a yoga fixer now!!) But the bottom line is that all you really need is to spend a few minutes in a supine position focusing on nothing else but relaxing.
Unwind, un-do, let go of all the tension in every muscle, every bone, every nerve, every organ. Get into all the nooks and crannies and let the tension ease away.
I like to start at the bottom with my toes and then work up through my body until I end with the tips of my ears, the tips of my nose and my scalp. But some like to go from the top down. Whatever rocks your world! It's amazing though quite how much tension you are holding in different parts of your body that you really had no idea about - for me, my jaw is a biggie as is my bum for some odd reason. (I know, you are all laughing now about my bum being a biggie!)
Now, for some, total relaxation can be really hard. Some people are just highly strung naturally and it takes a lot of effort to switch off and just be. So for those, like my hyper and annoyingly thin Mother who live on their nerves and thrive on being busy and active, as soon as you find your mind wandering to what you are going to make when Dave and Joanne come for dinner at the weekend, or whether you should paint the play room "elephant ear" or "string", simply come back to concentrating on your breath. Acknowledge the thoughts and then slide them out of your brain like they are pictures on your iPhone.
Seen them, now move on to the task at hand!
Ideally, savasana is taken at the end of a yoga practice, allowing the body to integrate and assimilate all the new energy and information that is flowing around it. However I have a theory. I reckon that we could all do with a bit of savasana in our lives, yogis and non yogis alike. Maybe if we all took a few minutes hanging out in corpse pose, every day or even a few times a week we would all be healthier, happier and less stressed. This wonderful restorative pose helps with mental and physical clarity which in turn helps us to make better choices in our lives. So next time you are running around like a headless chicken checking the airing cupboard for your wallet or having a melt down that your souffle has deflated, get yourself straight down on to the floor, close your eyes and simply let go.
Try it, you won't be disappointed!