I already touched on how beneficial your Savasana is in practice, but what about those awkward silences during practice as well? You know, the ones you get when you hold a pose or when you begin to wind down the practice? Once the teacher has given all cues, maybe a couple jokes and has successfully guided the students into the pose that now needs to be held for a few breaths, even up to a minute. Now you’re sitting in your runners lunge, maybe even all the way down in lizard pose and your teacher has stopped giving any cues and has seemed to have completely forgotten about you. While you should only do what is comfortable in your body-and moving out of discomfort is definitely a good thing-your yoga instructor has most certainly not forgotten about you. And while the silence seems super awkward to you and you really don’t want to sit there for 3-6 breathes stretching out your hips in runners lunge, there is a purpose and it’s not just to make you sit there.
And I 100% guarantee you that your yoga instructor feels a teensy but awkward during the silence as well. Especially when it starts getting to those quiet down poses at the end of practice. We have spent the whole practice talking and guiding, making sure that we give the perfect amount of time for each posture and making sure each side is even. Suddenly we are supposed to sit quietly for seconds, even minutes as the class winds down and begins Savasana. We sit there helping people wind down, just waiting for them to be done. Often times for me I feel like something needs to be said, or it’s just too long of a time to be in a pose or maybe I wasn’t even enough with each side. But the silence is a key part of yoga, and often times it’s too rushed.
Silence, especially at the end of practice, is a wonderful way to wind down. Sure, guide the pose maybe add some flowing movement in but do so gently and once you say what needs said let the silence flow in. Once we begin to embrace the silence and learn to bring the silence into our own minds we can really begin to cool down and find some peace. Often times our minds are going a mile a minute during practice, but if we can embrace the silence and clear our minds we can begin to come to a more intense and profound practice.
I see so many people thinking that yoga is just the postures. Sure breathing is involved, but a lot of people just see those two aspects of yoga. They fail to see how much more yoga is.
For me yoga is a space I can go to on my mat, a space to clear my head and get into the zone and forget every other worry on in my life. This is how I am able to teach even as a social recluse. Once I start I am in the zone and I forget everything else. This is why instructors will sometimes encourage the sighs and long releases of breath. Yoga is the release and when you really get into it you begin to sigh out everything bothering you with life. This is also why teachers being with a simple pose, asking students to focus on breathing or clearing their mind.
When we tie in the silence with our breathing and holding of posture we begin to come to this place on our mats where we feel safe and in control. We feel free, at peace and wonderful all at the same time. And once we come to the silence we can clear our minds and just enjoy the clear minded freedom, preparing ourselves for the rest of the day off of our mats.
So next time your holding your pigeon pose, or a supine twist, and you feel your mind wandering to the “is the DONE yet??” mindset take a deep breath and clear your mind and let everything fade away. Welcome in the silence and just take the time to sit with yourself, because when else are we going to take the time to sit in silence during our day? We need this time for ourselves and welcoming in the silence is one of the best things that you can do for you and your practice.