Savasana is Embodied Empathy

Savasana is Embodied Empathy

By Lizzie Lasater

In London a few weeks ago, I taught a six hour workshop about a single yoga pose: Savasana. We spent the entire day focused on this one powerful posture. We asked why to practice Savasana and how to teach it. We looked at variations and delicious refinements.

By chance, that morning the students woke up to find that their country was leaving the European Union. Many of them had voted to remain a member – and were very distressed. Several were brought to tears when they discussed how sad they felt.

As I travel and teach this year I’m noticing a state of mourning – all around the world. In Greece it was discussions about the refugee crisis, in California students were horrified about the Orlando shooting, and recently in London it’s the volatility of the Brexit. We all desperately need more space for silence and the soothing balm of empathy.

The first step in giving yourself empathy is to observe your feelings in this very moment. It can be an unfamiliar practice because we invest so much energy distracting ourselves. But that’s exactly why we desperately need to focus on this work.

Today’s practice: give yourself the gift of 15 minutes of silence. Set your timer and lie down on your yoga mat for Savasana. Support your head and knees, and cover your eyes. Stop eating, talking, texting, consuming. Stop being productive or witty or helpful. Just lie there and listen. Give yourself empathy.