Stillness can be very hard for people, especially for those of us who live in large cities where there is very little stillness or quiet. It is usually my students who struggle with savasana (corpse pose), the period of time at the end of yoga class when you lie on your back completely still, but tonight it was me who had trouble with savasana. I struggled to just stand at the back of the room and quietly watch over the class, as I usually do, for the five minutes. I wanted to put props away, fidget, pace anything but stay still and quiet. I purposefully build moments of stillness into my classes because I think it is important to learn to be still and quiet with oneself. It is hard because it forces you to be with you, all of you. Constantly thinking, talking, moving, doing covers up the stuff we don’t want to acknowledge, the stuff that we purposefully sweep under the carpet, the stuff that we unknowingly sweep under the carpet, the parts of ourselves we are not too fond of, but can easily ignore amidst a lot of hustle and bustle. Stillness can also be frustrating, especially in a society that tells us we must always be doing. How can stillness be productive if it does not involve actively doing anything?
We need stillness, not just physical stillness but mental stillness. It allows us to recharge. It also allows us to be with ourselves. Getting to know yourself, your thought patterns, your deepest feelings, the plotlines that play out over and over again in your life is essential. The more you pay attention the more you will observe and learn, and the more you know the more you will be able to make changes to the things that aren’t working for you or that you don’t particularly love about yourself. Being still and learning to observe yourself can be downright painful, infuriating at times, but guess what…there is a whole lot of love and beauty within each of us as well – you get to discover that too.
I suggest starting small. Try sitting quietly for just one minute a day right after you wake up or right before you go to bed. If you already have a regular meditation practice try sitting for an additional minute. See what happens. If you have a yoga practice that usually involves a steadily moving vinyasa flow try holding a pose or two for ten breaths. Try a restorative or yin class where poses are help for a minimum of 5 minutes each. See what happens. Be curious. Be brave. Challenge yourself to find a moment of stillness every day. You might surprise yourself with what you learn.