I know a lot of people think of yoga and imagine something like this:
That pose is apparently the “yoga sleep pose” and I found it in a post about “10 insane yoga poses” and that whole post was… well, insane. Stuff that I have never ever struck and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the time to devote to a yoga practice that would lead to those.
Or maybe they imagine something more traditional along the lines of this:
The downward-facing dog pose is a staple of so many yoga practices and it’s pretty much a given that you’ll end up there at some point if you do yoga. Downward dog has a lot of benefits, thus the reason we return to it so often in practice.
I can do some poses that are pretty tricky, I’ve always had a certain level of flexibility that just came naturally to me. I seem to have terrible balance and struggle with balancing poses but I find that I’m better at them with a more regular practice. But none of these are the ones that I find the most difficult. The one that challenges me the most is one that is probably the easiest one to get into. It requires not twisting, folding, turning, balance, etc. It looks like this:
As I did my yoga practice the other day, I realized that when I’m crunched for time this one is the first thing that gets chopped. When I allow myself to do it, my mind is running in a million different directions. One of those directions was basically this post, about why the pose that is just laying on the ground is so difficult for me.
I’m not alone; when I started searching it seems that many people have trouble finding stillness in corpse pose. Our world doesn’t really advocate for that, it’s become a bragging point to always be multi-tasking and trying to do as many things at a time as possible. Turning off the brain is getting harder and harder. It can also force you to just sit with your own thoughts, similar to meditation. That was something that we were encouraged to do a lot during eating disorder treatment, that we needed to sit with our thoughts and feelings, to not judge them and experience them.
Sometimes, laying there on the floor with nothing else to occupy the physical body beyond just letting go, our minds try to overcompensate by dragging out old things. (My dog does this too… sometimes if she’s being ignored too much she starts pulling out all of her toys, even the old ones she’s ignored for a long time.) Sometimes these old thoughts or troubling thoughts are ones that needed to be dusted off and confronted in order to become stronger individuals, that is challenging!
But on the rare moments when the instructor allows for enough time in savasana (or I allow myself enough time in savasana), I sometimes find myself letting go, falling into stillness and then being momentarily confused when the teacher starts telling me to wiggle my fingers and toes and start to wake my body. It’s always a little bit of a surprise to myself that I was able to release my monkey mind for just a moment.
And on those days, that’s when I feel myself standing a little taller and breathing a little more deeply.