One of the main goals of a regular yoga practice is to be able to reach Samadhi, a state of deep concentration and meditation resulting in union with a greater reality … a greater universal consciousness. When we are in Savasana, we are working toward this state, feeling the benefits of our asana practice, resting our bodies in order to open up to our breath and release all of the tension and thoughts running through our minds — coming to a place of blissful nothingness.
When I first started going to yoga class on a regular basis, it was immensely hard for me to quiet my mind during Savasana. All of a sudden, I would start thinking of the next thing on my “to-do” list, or a random thought would enter my mind that I couldn’t let go of. Funniest of all to me now was imagining the food I would eat after class. I always went to yoga class after work and before dinner, and by the end of class I was so hungry that I would start to envision myself eating the worst possible foods … a hamburger and fries or a huge hot fudge sundae!
Through 15 years of enjoying a regular yoga practice, and now being an instructor myself, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with anyone who has ever felt the way I just described.
4 tips to quiet your mind in Savasana
1. Precision, not perfection, is the goal.
Precision requires being mindful of each aspect of the process, while perfection anticipates the end result and is full of self-criticism. Live in precision and enjoy the journey, not the destination.
2. Even one minute of silence in the mind is a gift. Embrace it!
We live in a demanding, fast-paced world where you have to consciously remind yourself to take a breath or take a break. But those breaks are so necessary and don’t have to be one more demanding item to complete. Just taking one minute to tune into yourself, your breath or the beauty of the world around you can offer so much peace.
3. Find a mantra — a word or sentence to come back to when your mind starts to stray.
When I was in the middle of my yoga-teacher training, a meditation instructor was brought in to teach a one-day workshop about meditation. The strategy she offered was so simple, it took me a while to appreciate it: By focusing on a word that is meaningful to you, such as “peace” or “love,” or even a sentence, such as “Everything is going to be all right,” you will bring back your focus and awareness.
4. Pay attention to the natural flow of your breath — it’s there to guide you and support you.
Breath is truly the life force, Prana, and it is always there to guide you whenever you need it. By paying attention to the natural flow of your breath, you are making a mind-body connection and settling into a state of compassionate self-awareness. As you breathe, acknowledge any feelings that may be rising up and blocking your path to peace, then release them.
If you’re like me, once you get to this peaceful place inside, you’ll want to keep coming back in order to feel the openness and serenity that comes with a quiet mind. The benefits of yoga towards this end are unbelievable. The asanas combined with pranayama are tools to help get back to that place of blissful nothingness.