Sitting Up Is Hard To Do

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savasana corpse pose

After intense twists, unnerving balance poses, and fast-paced vinyasas, it always strikes me as odd that the most difficult part of yoga class is the roll from my side after Savasana up into a seated position. Like magnets being pulled apart, my body and the floor seem to fight the separation.

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After the rigor of Sun Salutations, when my heartbeat matches the tempo of the class, and longheld poses that make my muscles shake, the transition into Corpse Pose is welcome relief. Laying on my mat, I'm blissfully aware of the absence of mental chatter, and the faint hum in my ears as my heartbeat slows. I feel as though a gentle fog has envelopes me; my body is light, my mind blank, my vision turned inward.

And then comes the signal that stirs me from my state of surrender. The teacher instructs us to wiggle our toes and fingers, stretch our arms overhead, bring our knees into our chests, and roll to the right side. I feel feeble in my attempt to take the first steps to transition back into wakefulness.

I'm happy to stay here, with my head resting on the soft cushion of my arm. The fetal position I have curled into is soothing and innocent. Even in my Savasana-haze, I'm aware of how odd and wonderful it is that all of us, in a room full of people, feel safe enough to simply lie snug in a ball—knees hugging, head tucking, inward and protected.

When told to come back up into a sitting position, it feels like I am pushing three times my weight. I really want to to stay right where I am. But that part of me that tells me I have work to do, that it’s 1:05 already, that everyone else has already sat up, spurs me to move.

I leave class inebriated. Limbs numb, thoughts hazy, eyes half open—I'm still in that other state. Soon I’ll snap out of it. But for a moment I enjoy the feeling.

I guess it's not surprising that coming out of Savasana is the most dreaded and difficult part of class for me. Stepping out of this serene state and back into the “real” world is a conscious decision to deal with life’s ups and downs.

But even while the post-yoga buzz dissipates, giving way to the hustle-bustle of the day, a bit of that surrender remains. It’s there when the little, daily annoyances don’t irritate me as much; when my back feels loose but strong; and when I feel a sense of rejuvenation throughout my soul, as if yoga has wrung out any toxins or negative residue.

So, yes, it will always be slightly torturous for me to sit up with the rest of the class and accept the day before me. But it’s comforting to know that the sense of calm I experience lingers. And when the finally dissipates completely, it’s even more reassuring to know that my next sip of surrender is only a few asanas away.

Jessica Abelson is the Web Editorial Assistant at Yoga Journal.