Thursday, June 30, 2011

Savasana in Bikram Yoga: Set Your Intention or Suffer

Its at least 105 degrees. You are sweating your brains out. You are tired, you are giving your all in this Bikram class. Whether its your first class or your 100th, when that first laying down savasana comes, we all tend to collapse in a heap on the floor, panting for breath.

What if, in your savasana, while you are "complete relax, complete relax, complete relax", your mind is also letting go of listening to how tired and hard working your body is.

What's going on in that mind of yours?
What if in those 20 seconds, you are laying there filling yourself with the positive energy you will need for the next posture?

I did an experiment in my last three classes. I noticed that at first I was collapsing on the floor and while I was completely relaxing, I was also completely experiencing how tired I was. I the complete relax was attached to how hard the work had been.

The next savasana, I asked myself if I could let go of my attachment to my "hard work" of the past and just be here now. Not here in the sense of indulging what my body was saying to me about the past, but could I return my breathing to normal in two breaths?

Could I then spend the savasana filling my body with energy, so that the next posture I'd be rejuvenated and ready?

The floor series has always been the hardest part for me. It feels relentless, and the savasana almost makes it worse.

After a week of testing my hypothesis,  realized that the floor series was becoming easier, was less dreaded. And therefore, I could re prioritize my means of approach.

In the past, I'd thought, okay, I hate the floor series. I'm not good at it, its hard, and its hard to drink water. I'm tired and floor bow is the most brutal posture ever. So therefore, floor bow is now my favorite posture and I dedicate all my energy of excellence to that posture.

The problem was that by the time I got there, I was so tired, I had a really hard time giving my positive energy to the posture. I've never been able to give my all and see what I can do in that posture because I just don't have that much to give.

After shifting my intention in savasana from observing how hard it had been to energizing myself for what would be, without worry or projection, like a battery attached to a solar panel, I was soaking up my breath as my charge went up.

The ultimate expression of floor bow.
Suddenly, when we got to bow, I was surprised to already be there, and able to give it a little more. Camel doesn't make me feel like I'm going to pass out, and I'm not fighting lip service in Floor Bow, I'm actively participating, able to care if my knees are apart or my alignment is good.

I think about how this works in the rest of life. We know that suffering is wishing something was other than it is. I don't think I was laying in savasana suffering, I think I was observing, but also dwelling. I wonder if there isn't another step of freedom from suffering which is first acceptance, then letting go of the information that's informing your understanding so that other possibilities of this present moment can be observed as well.

Yes, I'm sweating, yes, my heart rate is up. Yes, I feel strong, alive, able, growing, and strengthening. Yes, my breath feels like water feeding my body. Yes, I am ready for the next posture.

1 comment:

Liat said...

I've done this! It totally works! (Not in an insanely difficult bikram class, but when I'm exhausted and don't want to rally...) Thanks for the reminder!