Near the end of a yoga practice, it’s common to lie flat on your back and “take savasana” or final rest. It’s a time for laying still and moving into the meditative “grand finale”, for cooling down, and maybe feeling relief. It’s also a great time to wonder if you set the PVR to record Big Brother and to start worrying about the rest of your day’s activities — WHOA, wait!! Stop. No, it’s a time to clear the mind (see how in my list of tips below).
Savasana is the most common way that we yoga-class aficionados get our meditation time in. It’s the gateway into the higher limbs of yoga practice. It’s about trying to be non-reactive, which is useful for dealing with buzzing smartphone notifications, our emotions and memories, overactive or racing thoughts, and other people’s drama.
How exactly do you clear your mind?
Sri Swami Satchidananda writes “Some people say, ‘I thought that in the name of meditation and Yoga, we were supposed to make the mind blank and without thoughts.‘ But you can’t make the mind thoughtless immediately. Many people try, but it is impossible. Once you make the mind thoughtless you have attained the goal. But it is not that easy.”
He explains that even the thought that your mind is indeed blank is still an idea – and therefore, you have still not fully cleared your mind.
Here are some tips on beginning your descent into your savasana meditation.
- Keep your focus on a singular object or image, such as a place (tropical beach, etc.), symbol, or your pet’s happy face, or
- continue practicing control of the breath (pranayama), perhaps by resuming Ujjayi breathing or silently counting to 3, 5, 8, or 10 as you inhale and then again as you exhale, or
- silently repeat a mantra in your mind, imagining hearing the sound “so” as you inhale, and “hum” as you exhale (the “so-hum mantra”), or
- imagine your inner being as a brilliant, white light of consciousness emanating from inside your brain. Then see that brilliant white light glowing and radiating from within you. Perhaps it’s a brilliant star. Let its light sweep through your body, bringing with it a sense of steadiness and comfort. Know that this light is always there, wherever your are in your life, or during your busy day. It is forever, and never changing. Stay connected with yourself, your light, in this way as long as you can. Steady, comfortable, peaceful.
Good luck, and namaste!