Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yoga's Hardest Move

I have been practicing yoga since I was 10. I still can't do a lot of moves, like standing on my hands, touching my head to my shins in a forward bend, I can't even do lotus.
But I can tell you without a doubt that the hardest move is Savasana. You know, the pose at the end of the class where you lay on your back and completely relax.

You might think this is the easiest move after a sweaty ashtanga session when your shirt is more water than cloth. It might seem harder to do those tree poses where you stand on one leg and grab your fully extended foot.

But all those moves are about doing something. With time and practice the muscles pull, the mind accepts you can do it.

But Savasana...

Savasana is literally translated the corpse pose. I have come to believe this is not a casual reference. Savasana is about letting go. Doing nothing, thinking nothing, putting no effort into anything.

The more I do it, the more I realize how hard absolute relaxation is. There is always some part of your body that won't let go. If you do it right, you won't twitch a finger, tighten an eyebrow or even focus your eyes. Even if someone drops a big pan you will just lay there .
Or maybe a more acurate description would say you stop being. And this is why this pose is the hardest thing I have ever done.

When you relax you start to slip away. I call it a near death experience. I have had it a couple of times, but I always snap out of it. In fact, it scares the hell out of me.

Imagine that, scared of laying on the ground. But I do get creeped out. I lay there and just start slipping away. It is like dying, I feel my eyes get that dead fish look. As I start to slip I snap back...and reassert myself.

That is why Savasana is yoga's hardest move.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don't open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.