It’s My Shavasana and I’ll Think if I Want To!

I felt like I hadn’t been to yoga in forever.  A variety of reasons, such as our trip to Maine for Thanksgiving and Mike’s trip to New Orleans for work, left me missing too many yoga sessions.

Yoga is not like riding a bike.  Since I started running and lifting heavy, I noticed that I am much stiffer these days.   After two weeks off, I was stiff, barely able to touch my toes.  It felt so good to stretch and push my body.

Yoga was the first physical activity as an adult that I loved.  I loved it for many reasons:

  1. There is constant room for growth beyond repeating the exercise with a heavier weight or finishing a few seconds faster.  Growth in yoga is real and motivating to continue practicing! Mastering a pose that previously eluded you is one of the best feelings ever!
  2. It was the first exercise as an adult that I was good at from the moment I started.  Even though I will never be the smallest person in a class, I am usually one of the stronger and more flexible people practicing.  Let’s face it; no one likes doing something they’re not good at.
  3. I connected with amazing people! I love my yoga squad!  They are some of the most important people in my life.  Seriously, outside of family and coworkers, how many people do you see twice a week on purpose?  We share fears and vent when needed.  Most importantly, I laugh with them, often smiling and giggling to myself after class when I think about someone that was said.

There is one part of yoga that I cannot seem to complete correctly: Shavasana.  I just can’t turn off my mind.  During this time, I stew over the fact that I am not good at this.  How can I ever be a “real yogi” if I can’t complete the simplest pose?

One of my friends is able to fall asleep during Shavasana, often snoring loudly to our amusement.  I can’t even shut off my mind, yet she can go to sleep?!  While thinking about how awful I am at Shavasana, I often think of other things I need to do or am terrible at completing.  I mentally run through my to-do list.  I wonder if Liam will be awake when I get home.  I think of previous embarrassments and relive them in my mind.

Last night, I laid back for a few minutes of worry and contemplation.  This time, I focused on an ear-worm that had been in my head for days.  Liam’s teacher assigns homework via a website called  Spelling City.  Every time I hear this, I think of the old Barenaked Ladies song “Hello City.”  This song has been in my head for days and found its way into my Shavasana.  However, “Hello City” was just what I needed to shut off my mind for a few minutes.

After a decade of trying to master what should be the easiest part of yoga, I’ve come to terms with the facts that I will probably never find zen during Shavasana.  However, I know I find my calm and peace in other ways, during my walks with Liam and Mike, listening to an interest story on NPR, devouring a book, and while I am running.  I don’t need to force zen; I just need to allow it into my space.

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