Savasana: The Pause That
Replenishes Our Prana
Do you embrace the slowness of winter and the stillness of savasana… or given the option, do you power through? By Lauren Bloxham
Reading time: 4 minutes
Here we are in the thick of the darkness together…deep behind the veil of light cast by the summer sun, we stand in the full reflection of the moon, our souls exposed, our hearts bare. We are deep into the winter, the solstice upon us, and although it may be hard to acknowledge, depending on how comfortable we are with the idea of death, or how well processed our experiences are, during the dark months, the veil between life and death is more transparent than ever. Its reflection is there in the still cold of the season, in the skeletal trees and the silence from the natural world. It touches us lightly as our energy wanes and we feel the desire to withdraw, to hibernate, to stay close to our homes and the warmth and safety they provide.
The discomfort of this light touch and the suggestion of something slower and more withdrawn alone may be triggering. Naturally, we may want to lean towards all that reflects the light, the glitter, the sparkles, the tinsel, and lights. We create warmth through gatherings and festivities…we manufacture light through the darkness, and in doing so we bring comfort too.
But in taking the time to embrace the reflection of death, to embrace the darkness, quietude and stillness it brings, we empower ourselves to find something deeper. As we lean in to quiet, as we accept the shadows and we become curious about our own need to find stillness and withdrawal, we also find deep-rooted nourishment. Winter is a time for deep rest; a time to be slow, thoughtful and reflective.
Watching the natural world move with this innate wisdom, we notice the flowers feel no obligation to bloom, trees have no desire to dress themselves up, and warm-blooded mammals preserve their energy through hibernation. Birds migrate, free from the constraints of nationality or borders, but often we humans operate by a different set of self-imposed rules.
Our rules keep us working, our monthly payments keep us alert to the potential losses that would ensue if we slowed down or stopped. Our borders keep us from moving to warmer climates. Our social constructs, which in so many ways serve us well, also sever us from what is deeply innate within. They lead us away from our connection with the body of earth which is our one true supporter and provider. The shadows cast by the low light of winter days are long, and so too are the shadows within us. So how do we move closer to the innate pace and rhythm of our wintering selves, free from fear, within the constraints of our busy modern lives?
Given the option, do you power through?
Balance is key and the natural world can serve us as a useful reminder. Whilst productivity is a natural state, it comes in balance with periods of rest and replenishment. Reconnecting with the rhythms of the natural world can serve us well too. Honouring our own periods of productivity with periods of rest and replenishment can be a way to embrace our own personal winters. Beginning to recognise our need for withdrawal, stillness and quiet following emotionally or mentally challenging times can also serve us well in finding balance.
Our yoga practices are often reflective of cycles of productivity and rest. A good teacher will guide us towards our own innate pace and rhythm, cultivating agency within us to pause, rest, breathe and move in rhythm with the ebb and flow of our own energy.
Balasana (or child’s pose) is a natural place to pause between periods of dynamic movement, and we end our practice in savasana (also known as corpse pose). These poses embody the qualities of winter and guide us towards the power that can be found in stillness, the pause that replenishes our prana, the pit-stop of awareness that unburdens us temporarily, of the load we are carrying, the consolidation of work done and the sense of rising gratitude this may bring. Given the option for rest and replenishment though, do you power through? It’s useful to contemplate this question. It can provide a powerful opportunity to understand our own attitudes towards what we perceive to be the less productive times in our lives.
Often, we power through in fear of what will be lost if we don’t. The vulnerability of being the only one being still, the fear of judgement or of missing out. But just like the seasons, our yoga practice and the innate rhythms of our bodies are here to sustain us, to balance energy and productivity. When we embrace the balance that winter brings to our dynamic lives, we empower ourselves to strengthen and nourish our energy and to find a more sustainable way of being.
Sink into savasana, embodying winter
Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Just stillness to embrace. Embrace the arising sensation of earth meeting body and the feeling of body being received. Give yourself permission to be received completely, surrendering the weight of the head and jaw, the shoulders, and arms… letting go of the torso, the pelvis, the legs and the feet.
Exhale and imagine the feeling of putting down heavy bags… sink into savasana.
Curiously invite the awareness to take in sensations of gravity, its downwards flow, its movement towards the core of the earth, the weight of the body and its meeting points with earth. Pour the awareness in the direction of gravity as the body takes up the space it so desires. Exhale into the depths of savasana, soaking up all the nourishment that the earth is offering. The nourishment of release and the relief it brings.
Surrender to your savasana, to the stillness it invites. Surrender the fragments of mind that cling like the last dead leaves on winter trees…invite the wind to release them now as you take a long, slow exhale.
Moving deeper into stillness now there is a cooling of the body as the system slows. Feel into the lightness that this surrender invites…the connection with relief, with a sense of being restored. Embrace the nourishment of savasana and this loving embodiment of the winter within.
Practice yoga with Lauren Bloxham online at Sabda.uk, movement, mindfulness & meditation for slow movers & gentle souls. Join her on retreat next year, ‘The Wild Medicine’ at Bala Brook, Dartmoor National Park 16-19 May & 14-17 November, 2024. Follow her words of wisdom on Instagram @blackdogliving