I tip toe over to dim the lights and quiet the music. Students are now lying comfortably on their mats, their bodies relaxed from their physical yoga practice. There’s generally an audible sigh or two and a sense of ease and completion in the room. It’s time for sivasana; the time I silently affirm to myself that we are human beings, not human doings. These few minutes carved out at the end of our practice are perhaps the only time throughout our entire day to just simply and unapologetically BE.
This might be my favorite part of the practice as both teacher and student, but make no mistake- it poses its own set of challenges. As a yoga teacher it’s extremely difficult to teach relaxation in a world where we are so conditioned to DO. Our self-esteem is driven by doing, by learning or earning more, by being better looking or thinner or somehow more than we are today. When we busy ourselves we forget our inherent wholeness; our worthiness to simply exist.
This extends beyond the classroom as well. We reach for our phones when there’s a moment of uncomfortable silence, we repeatedly run lists in our minds of things we need to do, we worry about the future or fret about the past. But these are all things that keep us from being present and feeling a sense of okay-ness in the moment. Relaxation, or sivasana, gives us a healthy space to practice the art of being. It gives us a chance to literally and figuratively catch our breath, to exist without conditions, to be quiet with ourselves, allowing thoughts, emotions, or insights to arise without judgement.
Sivasana is a place of restorative healing where we perhaps remember or get a glimpse of our true nature. And yes, we can still celebrate our talents with the world, we can share our knowledge, we can work really hard, make lists and drive fast cars. We can do all of these things knowing that we are still loveable and whole without them. Come to yoga class and DO the physical practice. Maybe at the end you give yourself permission and the gift to just BE.
Chrissy Leake, BFA, RYT-200
Instructor Yoga Integrated Science™ Wellness Center