The best part about yoga, for me, is shavasana.
All the hard work is done and you get to soak in all that goodness. If you haven’t done yoga or experienced shavasana, it’s literally just laying down, eyes closed, while the magical yoga teacher fills your ears with delightful inspiring messages, or plays calming music. Some teachers even come by with essential oil and give you a head massage.
The picture above is a beautiful depiction of it. It shows the importance of rest as if it were akin to nature. It’s like working hard in the garden on your body and then allowing yourself the freedom of taking a break; giving the sun and birds and butterflies a chance to play their role in keeping this garden that is your body flourishing and healthy. It reminds us that in order to reap the benefits of our hard work, we must also learn to rest.
Yet somehow, simply learning to rest after a lot of output has been a challenging concept for me to learn. Mostly because I always believed that constantly doing something meant being productive which meant being worthy of love/success/etc. I’m also very often swept up in a cycle of “must do this NOW!” or “what if this horrible thing happens?!” type thoughts. It’s difficult to restrain myself from reacting to them. Sometimes it feels as if I’m being toppled over by a massive wave of thoughts. I’m only now finally starting to get the hang of diving underneath the wave of anxiety and watching it crumble a few inches from my face.
I remember about a year ago, I actually believed I didn’t even have enough time for a 4-minute shavasana after yoga. I saw no point in laying there unproductively, I mean I already finished my workout and now I had things I needed to do! Eventually, after leaving class early a few times, I noticed the teacher watching me as I mouthed sorry and left the room. I thought she may have been offended so the next class I approached her and told her, “I love your class by the way, I just don’t feel like I need to stay for shavasana. I hope you aren’t offended when I leave.” She looked at me with a bit of concern, “it’s okay, do what you need, but I really do recommend staying for shavasana. I think it’s actually the most important part of the practice.”
Now, it is my favorite, and I would never dare to leave before the best part. That’s like refusing dessert!
It feels like a loving act towards myself to bring meditation and mindfulness in my daily life. Whenever I do, I can feel anxious thoughts separate from me like oil in water. It’s definitely a work in progress though and I need to continuously check in, calm down and carve out time for it. Similar to going to the gym.
These songs feel like a whimsical ribbon hypnotising my mind into peace and calm. You can find all the rest of them on my Spotify playlist called “let me Shavasana”.
1. Ong Namo, Snatam Kaur
This is my all-time favourite. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, this song will put me at instantaneous ease. It feels like a floating blog of compassion, love, and lightness. I am thankful it exists and hope the positive effects never fade!
2. Tabla Breath, Benjy Wertheimer
This song is so cool, my imagination takes me on a journey in a jungle with drums and incense. I feel like I’m lurking amidst a new found culture, a group of people and a way of life that strips away anything I’ve ever known. It feels a river of freedom, creativity, connection, and stimulation.
3. Campfire, Alex Somers
This song feels it’s churning all my emotions to the surface and forcing them outside of my body. If you feel emotionally stuck, I guarantee that this song will unclog those emotions for you and leave you in tears. It’s a beautiful kind of musical relief.
4. Electra – Airstream
Oh my good heavens. This song is similar to that famous Moby song from the Beach, which is also crazy relaxing. But this one has no image to identify it with other than my own imagination. It feels like a diffusion into warmth, like slowly entering warm ocean water that feels almost the same temperature as your body.
5. Ólafur Arnalds – Only The Winds
Sometimes you just need a little bit Icelandic shavasana to seep into your conscious and make you feel the much-needed introversion that comes along with the cold and isolated winters. It feels like a journey, a month of one’s life. The wins, the losses, the triumphs.