Before I did my yoga teacher training, I would roll my eyes whenever I read or heard someone say that savasana is actually the hardest pose.
Eff that, I thought. I could corpse for days.
But time and experience has humbled me, and I now see why this particular pose is so challenging. We have designed a rat race of tasks to keep ourselves perpetually busy. And even when we think we are enacting self-care or rest, it is not genuine repose. We are not allowing ourselves to experience our minds and souls just as they are. Instead, the time between items on our to-do lists are spent making more lists, or feeling guilty, or taking in all the sensory input we can by overconsuming not just food, alcohol and drugs, but also content. We can’t handle the overwhelming expansiveness within so we avoid it with any kind of mental, physical or emotional activity that is within reach.
After I do my at home yoga practice, I rarely give myself the gift of integration that is corpse pose. I will gladly take it during a class I attend but to offer it to myself feels superfluous and self-indulgent. I better be moving and getting better at real poses, I seem to think. And this is a yoga teacher saying that! I know the benefits and importance of savasana, and yet I consistently skip it.
Savasana, the yogic rest where we hover between wake and sleep, and give our full attention to the present moment one breath at a time, really is the hardest pose of them all. To be with ourselves as we truly are without falling down the rabbit hole of thinking feels nearly impossible largely due to its simplicity.
To be overwhelmed with guilt for doing nothing is not genuine rest. To ruminate is not genuine rest. To plan is not genuine rest. And yet these are all things that we spend our precious moments in savasana doing.
So instead of adding to the pile of things to feel bad about, I suggest we embrace the struggle with savasana. I suggest we honour the difficulty in making the always available choice to come back to the present moment. Again and again.