Rest as if it was your job

I include rest as part of my practice, and it’s something I’ve learned by practicing Savasana.

Yoga values Savasana very much.

In his book Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar says:

“The stresses of modern civilisations are a strain on the nerves, for which savasana is the best antidote”.

Iyengar also says that by practicing savasana one can learn how to relax. That is so true. If you like to “skip” savasana please don’t do it. Take at least a five minutes break, allow your heart to slow its pace, allow the mind and the body to rest together, and become one in a blissful state. It’s really amazing for your health and – it’s part of your practice.

savasanaBut, let’s be compassionate and approach our resistence for savasana (yes, I’ve skipped it sometimes too), by understanding what can go wrong while you’re there, laying comfortably on the floor:

1. The mind starts to wander.

It’s true! I don’t practice at a yoga studio, all I have is my daily home practice, but I’ve experienced savasana three times in local studios and I must say – I didn’t feel comfortable by laying down with people I didn’t know all around me. As a person with anxiety issues and related social anxiety, it was painful to be so vulnerable in public.

That’s why I stick to my home practice, because it is what suits me best. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to get certified and to start my yoga training, but I need to find a studio where I can feel comfortable – it’s not a problem with the studio itself, it’s my own issues. I know I’ll make it.

But even at home, sometimes I’m in savasana and my toes don’t stop moving, my feet shake from one side to another and I’m so bursting with energy that I really can’t stay still in this posture. And we know that while in savasana we must stay as still as a dead body.

The lesson to learn here is compassion for yourself, and patience with your mind. I usually let my mind wander, and focus on my breath, on a mantra (it can be OM!) or I set an intention “to relax with all my mind, my body and my soul”. This usually helps me to get through the 15 minutes with sanity.


2. You feel like “I’m wasting my time”.

That ‘s one of the most powerful causes of “savasana-abandonment”. You have money to earn, articles to write, food to cook, kids to take care of (that’s a big one), you have so much on your plate – you can’t waste your day time laying down. You’ve already slept at night.

When I feel overwhelmed I usually rest much more. I say to myself: “It’s 10-15 minutes, Andressa. What can I do in 10-15 minutes that will have such a benefitial impact over my health and well-being as deeply relaxing?”

We need rest when we’re under pressure. We need rest when everything is smooth. Rest is so important that we have day and night, and the night is as long as the day. That’s a powerful message to me. I highly respect rest. And I give it generously to myself. You can give you small rest-nuggets throughout your busy day:

– Lay down for 5 minutes three times a day.

– If you work in one office, rub your hands until warm, and place them over your closed eyes for two minutes. Connect with your breath. Set the intention to stay calm and centered, no matter what.


3. You are afraid of your own toughts.

Yep. Can happen. We can be afraid of our own toughts, feelings, of being alone with ourselves, and facing what’s going on in our lives at a deeper level. That’s also a strong cause of fear of meditation. Here, the best solution is to have patience and compassion, and start small. Rest for one minute, if it’s too hard to go for the 5 minutes. Grow from one minute to two, to three, to four, until you can feel comfortable in savasana. It will also help your meditation practice. Allow yourself to have setbacks, emotional release, tears, laughs. Probably you’re going to experience great things, which is NICE. It means yoga is working. It means you’re evolving. A lot of resistance can signify that there’s a lot for you to release and experience. You’ll be creating a lot of room for personal growth.

Many people have even great spiritual experiences while laying down in savasana. It’s really a great pose.


Picture: Shutupandrun

And there is also Ying yoga, restorative poses … Yoga is really the place to be if you want to learn how to relax.


5 thoughts on “Rest as if it was your job

  1. 1. The pictures brought me kind of a lot of smiles.

    2. I want all the savasana. Sometimes I find myself wanting to do that in bed at night rather than sleep. 🙂 It’s THE BEST PART of the yoga times! My problem is skipping other good stuff in favor of more relaxation. 🙂

  2. Savasana is definitely the hardest pose for me! And, of course, probably also the most important.

    I think #3 is especially true. Many of us (myself very much included) are afraid to just release our minds and let ourselves feel because we don’t know what we might come upon or how we’ll handle it. It can be a terrifying thing. But when I’ve allowed myself to go there, I’ve discovered so much about myself.

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