Please enjoy this entry from our guest blogger, Derrick. He is currently taking yoga teacher training with the Maritime Yoga College.
Week 12 - April 12th:
During our past weekend of teacher training we came to the last pose in our manual that we are taught to teach, savasana. The English translation of savasana is corpse pose. Savasana is generally done at the end of a class and it allows for the practice to be integrated and for deep relaxation to happen. Some say that it is when you relax that you enter savasana, but it is certainly true that when you lay down in savasana you do begin to relax.
Savasana is stillness; as you drift deeper into stillness and relaxation you go into a sleep-like state where the subtle systems of the body are rejuvenated. You will find that savasana is often referred to as the most difficult pose and here is my theory as to why.
The stillness of savasana allows for thoughts and emotions to rise to the surface of our conscious-awareness. These thoughts and emotions may be completely random, perhaps stimulated by the movement of the practice, or they may be the thoughts and emotions that have been suppressed and submerged, for any number of reasons. In the time-crunched modern society we share there is often little time for relaxation and stillness, and we often find our day full of activity and lacking in rest. When we move from task to task at high speeds we often miss the subtle activity of our thoughts, emotions, and intuition. The wisdom of our body speaks softly at first, but as it is ignored it will ‘speak’ louder and it will manifest thoughts and emotions into physical symptoms. At the root of much illness and dis-ease is stress, and psychic or emotional stress can be addressed before it manifests in physical symptoms, but we have to be open and able to listen.
Such deep and active listening is at the core of any yoga practice. At the beginning of most classes you do breathing exercises to link the mind and the body in the present moment and actively scan the body - using the breath - to identify any sensations. Throughout the practice we work towards maintaining this mind-body connection and cultivate mindfulness that we carry into the rest of our lives. The time we have spent in our Yoga-Teacher-Training program has allowed us to practice deep and active listening with our bodies, and as in many relationships the more we invest the more that is returned. We have been listening to our body ‘talk’ through the asanas, in our food diaries, and in meditative states - such as savasana. The wealth of knowledge our bodies contain would flood the largest of libraries. Take time to listen, and you will learn.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.