Being a yoga teacher is a rewarding experience in many ways; the joy you can get from teaching others, fulfillment from finding your purpose in life, and getting that secret thrill when one of your students finally reaches their toes after months of practice. I get joy each time I see a smile after a good practice and when I hear sighs during a particularly restorative pose. There are so many things that I am grateful for, that I feel guilty even thinking of something that bothers me about being a teacher.
That being said… there is one drawback to teaching and not simply being a student. In a word… S A V A S A N A. That sweet, gravy pose at the end of a really long yoga class… that one moment when you can finally relax and let it all go. You feel the floor completely supporting your body. You finally let your facial muscles release. You can even let your tongue hang loose in your mouth or let your mouth drop open naturally. Maybe if you are lucky the teacher will even come over and massage your neck or give you a gentle adjustment that puts you completely at ease. I love, love, love giving Savasana adjustments to my students. It is one of the best parts of being a yoga teacher. I tend to teach rather small classes or do one-on-one training, so I make sure to give each student individualized attention during their final relaxation.
As a teacher, most of my yoga time goes into making others feel better; planning out classes, exploring different and unique kramas (stages) to a difficult pose, and finally giving them adjustments and gentle massages to guide their bodies to final relaxation. I maintain my practice mostly at home, but I find the time to go to classes too. Unfortunately, most of the classes I attend are usually larger and the teacher either doesn’t do adjustments during Savasana or the class is too large to get to everyone. I’ll admit that I was spoiled with Savasana adjustments during my teacher training. So much that sometimes I wonder… Could I pay someone to just come over and wait till I am done fooling around on my mat, so that I can get a massage at the end of my practice? Why can’t I just relax at the close of my practice and not evaluate everything about the sequence?
As a society in general, we tend to go go go and never take a moment to just “be”. For those of us addicted to yoga, Savasana is one of those treasured moments. Getting a massage or an adjustment during one of those treasured moments is one of the best ways to restore our bodies. As a yoga teacher, I also find that my mind and my body are harder to relax during Savasana. I wonder more about the poses and the class in general when I should be practicing pratyahara (withdrawing of the senses for meditation) or relaxing the muscles of my body. I still give myself a good long Savasana, but it really isn’t the same… *sigh*
So as I lie on my mat today after my morning practice, mind racing, body struggling to relax completely; I only have one thought… I miss Savasana.