Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel. – Kevin Trudeau
I have started going to a yoga studio in downtown Toronto in the past week. Changing yoga studios is always a heart-breaking experience – you get attached to the way one studio does or doesn’t do things, and then you have to get used to a completely new studio.
I have written previously about how Sivasana (corpse pose) is a really important personal experience for me. I go into each class at least 15 minutes early, and spend those delicious 15 minutes laying in Sivasana, relaxing my mind, and body, moving away from my to-do lists, and from the rest of the harried day. And at the end of each class, I spend about 10-15 minutes in my own personal paradise, by laying in Sivasana, absolutely corpse-like, to let the juices of the class flow into every pore of my body.
For me, Sivasana is the most important part of my yoga experience. It helps ground me and bring me back to centre in the beginning of the class. And it helps me accumulate all of the goodness of all the poses at the end of the class. If I have a disturbed Sivasana due to someone dropping their mat suddenly on the ground, or someone whispering to another about their gynaecology exam, I feel like the whole class was a waste of time.
In this new studio, they have the class times packed in so tightly that they don’t have the time to let people linger after each class. They need to get the previous class takers out of the practice room as soon as possible, so the next class can come in and the practice can begin at the appropriate time. This is one of the side-effects of taking yoga at a downtown studio – they are so busy that they can’t really spare any time for after-class Sivasana.
Thus, the teacher lets each class rest in Sivasana for 3 minutes or so, and then she guides them back to reality by making them wiggle their toes, and fingers. The first time that happened, I went along with the process, thinking that this is a new way to do Sivasana (a more active version perhaps). But when I realized the intent behind the quick Sivasana, I resisted. I refused to partake.
Now, I lie in Sivasana even as the teacher guides everyone else back to the real world. I lay there soaking in the goodness of all the poses I attempted in the past hour for an extra few minutes.
Those extra few minutes are important to me. As I say in the title, Sivasana is a very personal pose. It means different things to different people. Different people are using their Sivasana to connect to different aspects of themselves. One might connect to their heart through their emotions. Another might connect to their third eye by focusing on their forehead. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, as long as you feel comfortable and right doing it.
I feel no shame taking those extra minutes by defying the yoga teacher’s instructions. Remember the teacher is there to guide you – she doesn’t know what you need from the class. You can do what she tells you to do, or you can do whatever feels right in your body at that time. I choose to stay in Sivasana as long as I can, as it makes me feel the best that I can feel after a yoga class.