“Me lying by the beach. I can hear the waves. This is relaxing. Wait, am I doing it right? I’m not supposed to think about anything. But how can I relax if I don’t imagine beach. I think my eyes are moving.. I should stop my eyes from moving. Why do I see shades of purple when my eyes are closed. I love purple. I should have bought that purple top I saw online. Maybe I’ll just buy it. Shucks, my credit card bill was due yesterday! Uh-oh my nose is itchy. I want to to scratch it already but I can’t move. How long is this pose gonna be?”
- my mind, during Savasana
Savasana is not a complicated pose, but that does not mean it is easy. My body can be still, but my mind still whirls around – to think about dinner, to whether I have paid my bills, or whether I should go to Phuket or Bali for my next holiday. I have struggled to do it right for years. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I’m already doing it right, although I think my Savasanas have improved over time.
My personal challenge with Savasana
It took a lot of practice for me to find stillness. I am a restless overthinker and being still is too foreign for my body, or my mind for that matter. I daydream a lot. If not, I mentally scan my to-do list, which makes me anxious and fidgety. This is further amplified by the pressure to relax, which usually ends in frustration and disappointment because I am unable to do so – complete opposite of the intention of the pose.
After x yoga classes and tips from different yoga teachers, I was able to pick up a few tips to calm my restless mind.
It’s ok to wander
Ironically, one of the best tips from my teachers was to allow my mind to wander. To let myself daydream and thoughts to naturally arise. My mind was freed from the pressure to relax, just by allowing it to do what it wants and acknowledge its natural flow.
Then, I would let each thought pass by as they arise, as one of the my teachers would say “let it go like a cloud passing by the sky”. I have to be honest, it is was not easy to not linger to each thought but with practice, I began to become more aware of my thinking process.
Baby steps to stillness
My teachers would guide me into my Savasana – “sink into stillness, one body part at a time, one muscle at a time”. I would literally scan my body from head to toe, consciously checking for any tension. As a yoga noob, I made sure my major body parts – head, back, arms, butt, legs and feet, are free of tension, letting gravity pull my entire body to towards the ground. With regular practice, I began to observe other body parts and learned to relase long-held tensions from different muscles. For instance, to name a few:
- the clenching of my jaw as if I’m biting into something
- tension in my frenulum because I tend to stick my tongue on the top of my mouth
- the raising of my eyebrows
- the subtle rising of my chest
Another tip that worked for me was to shift my awareness to the different sounds around me, probably because it naturally limits diversification of my thoughts. It felt like calling my mind mind back from wandering, to recollect and take a moment to listen to every sound, and letting my awareness go from sound to sound.
I would naturally tune in to the sound of my own breathing. Through guidance from different yoga teachers, I was able to go deeper through it – starting from observing my natural breathing, to feeling the air coming through my nostrils.