"The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered 'Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.'"
I was struck by this quote and was aware how true this is. We spend so much time working, sacrificing our own health, that we forget to actually LIVE. We ultimately forget to live in the PRESENT because we are so concerned about the future...something that essentially does not exist.
When practicing yoga, we are encouraged to remain in the present moment while focusing on our breath and postures. But even in Hatha Yoga, we are still in motion as we flow from pose to pose. I thought it would be appropriate, therefore, to focus on a yoga pose where the body and mind are in stillness: Savasana.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This pose is typically done at the end of a yoga practice. After having moved through your poses: twists, backbends, lunges, balances, etc., the body then is ready for rest, peace, and relaxation. The asanas (poses) get us more in tuned with our bodies - with ourselves. It is essentially the "work" that reflects the daily activities of our lives. When we come to Savasana, our work is done, and it is time to relax - to be still. I would hope that we are practicing the same thing in our everyday lives: find moments of peace and stillness in between our active and busy schedules.
In response to the Dalai Lama, I thought it appropriate to take a moment and practice that stillness. Take a break from work and the acquisition of money that compromises our health. Take a break from worrying about the future to savor and appreciate the present.
Lie flat on your back on your yoga mat. If necessary, use cushions, bolsters, or blankets in order to find complete relaxation while you lie in Savasana. Your legs are straight out in front of you, your torso is straight, your arms lying relaxed at your side. Your neck is in full alignment with your spine, and your eyes are closed. Allow your feet, legs, hips, back, and shoulders to fully relax and become one with the yoga mat - one with the Earth. This seems like an easy pose. On the surface, it is. But it is also considered one of the more challenging postures in yoga because of the intention: to be in stillness, to be present. When our bodies get relaxed like this, our minds tend to go into overdrive; it begins to think about things from the past and things in the future. It has a difficulty time remaining focused on the present. To help you, focus MORE on your breath. Breathe in a way that allows you to feel your breath and hear your breath. When you breathe with such intention, it is difficult to think about other things. This practice keeps the body and mind in the present moment. Stay here for as long as you like. It is also okay to set an intention here. It may be as simple as an intention of Peace and Stillness. Or maybe you're searching for Clarity and Ease. Whatever it is, keep it simple so that the main "work" here is to be in complete stillness.
Remember what the Dalai Lama teaches us from the above statement about humanity: live and enjoy the present.