Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday-- Shavasana

Shavasana means something different to everyone.  To most of us, it is that much awaited pose at the end of a practice where we get to melt into our mat, let go of everything, and just lie.  The "corpse" pose-- relax.  But beyond the asana, it means "rest." Shavasana is rest.

Sunday is Shavasana.

Christian faiths take Sunday as the Sabbath, the day of rest.  But regardless of your religion, faith, philosophy, etc.  one cannot deny the need for a day away from the pressures of life. A day to rest.  With life the way it is, so many of us plan the weekends full of all that we didn't have time to do during the week.  Before we know it, the weekend is over, and the next weekend's list is already started with things we didn't get to do over the weekend.  But when do we take time for ourselves?  We force ourselves to do things that we think we must do, regardless of what our bodies, minds, and spirits are telling us.  Buddha said, "Maintain yourself.  Be healthy.  Do not force yourself to do things you cannot do."

No doubt we all have countless obligations and responsibilities in our lives.  Remaining true and reliable in those tasks is imperative towards becoming a trustworthy individual.  Work ethic is immensely important to me-- I was raised to believe it would define me, so in no way do I think we should shirk our responsibilities in favor of a "free day."  However, we must rest.  In her book "Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life," Charlotte Bell dedicates an entire chapter to what she calls "Balance."  We need to find balance between taking care of our responsibilities and taking care of ourselves. She comments that in our society, taking on more and more is seen as a sign of virtue while taking time to oneself is seen as weakness. Why is that? How are we to take care of others if we do not take care of ourselves?

Balance in our life is directly linked to balance on our mat.  The easiest indicator of where you are at: your breath!  Are you a shallow breather? Do you get angry and frustrated easily? Perhaps you need to back off some of your precious "to do list" items...and rest.  Pay close attention to your breath the next time you practice.  Are you able to "find it?"  Or are you struggling through every asana?  Finding your breath is the first step to finding your balance.  Once you find it on your mat, you'll be on your way to finding it in your life.

So, Sunday might not be your Shavasana.  Perhaps it is Tuesday nights or Thursday afternoons.  But, you need to set aside time for you.  And just rest.

A nap on my mother's couch and watching a movie with my husband was the rest I needed to find my balance and ready myself for the week ahead!  How will you practice Shavasana in your life? Whatever you do, "maintain yourself, and be healthy."  Use this extra day of rest tomorrow to ready yourself for a great week!


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