We all want to be our best selves. Especially for the new year a lot of resolutions are formed in order to improve. I decided to sign up for a yoga teacher training in 2022 which should help me become a better and calmer human being. Just a few days into the new year, however, all calmness and joyful anticipation were destroyed when my manager declined my being away for the four weeks of training plus one week of holiday. Even though it was not yet a definite refusal, it came totally unexpected and meant that I could not book the early bird price. My plan to become a better and calmer person was greatly in danger, as I imagined.
In the yogic scriptures, we learn that we are driven by three qualities (gunas): Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. A person driven by Sattva is clear, calm, engages with the world in a selfless way, and is not disturbed by emotions. Rajas is turbulent, driven by emotions like fear, worry, anger, passion, attachment, caught up in the drama of the world, awareness is present but self-balancing is missing. Tamas is stagnation, toxicity, unawareness, reacts to the world in dark ways, and causes harm to others.
A powerful tool for becoming our best self – Sattva – is the practice of savasana. The focus of the month January in my yoga school reminds us about the importance of a daily savasana practice. Savasana means the corps pose and gives us figuratively the opportunity to practice dying. The time for savasana is typically after the asana sequence or – since it is the most important part of the practice – individually in case there is no time for asanas. It is recommended to practice at least seven minutes either lying down or sitting in complete surrender and letting go of what does no longer serve us.
Having It All Planned Out
Without letting go nothing new can grow. Only by leaving behind old beliefs and ideas, we can be completely free as well as ultimately calm and better people. For me, this meant practicing letting go of my longing to have it all planned out with my yoga teacher training. How could I allow that something, that was supposed to make me calm would make me so uncalm? In the end, putting aside expectations, helped me enter a calm state of mind before I even signed up for the training. I however know that the uncalm will come back if I do not remind myself of a regular practice.
Letting go needs courage. I felt that I needed to fight for my dream of the yoga teacher training. After a bit of savasana practice, I am however glad that I did not bombard and verbally pressure my manager but rather trusted that I had done and communicated all I needed to do. Instead of fighting with imaginary daemons, I put my energy into preparing for the training. Such as reading and – designing a notebook on which cover I fixed a picture of the goddess Durga – see image above. I like her very much since she fights with grace. It reminds me now not just of achieving goals with grace and self-confidence but also of the prerequisite of her success which must definitely be savasana.
This blog post is part of the written prerequisites for attending the 300HR Jivamukti yoga teacher training.
- Find something which really bothers you but you cannot stop thinking about it. Try for seven minutes to just let it go while you sit or lie in quiet.
- Make space for something new by donating or giving away something you like but do not need anymore.
- Think of something you assume you need to represent towards the world. Maybe it is possible to let go of this belief.