Thursday, August 31, 2006


I had an interesting experience this spring I would like to share with all of you. I had been considering the topic of detachment and curious about what it really means. I understood it in an academic way, but I was yearning for a deeper experience and understanding. Leave it to the universe to provide!

I had planned many things for the spring, for expanding the website, activities with the kids, my own practice, and, of course, classes and trainings I was teaching for which people were counting on me. Then I got sick, really sick. It took me five weeks to fully recover and during that time, the rest of my family came down with the illness as well.

During that time, I kept thinking of the things I had scheduled and wanted to be doing. I found myself saying, “I’ll be better by Saturday so I won’t have to cancel that meeting.” I had so much resistance to my lack of control over being sick! (“Hmmm”, I thought, “could this be my lesson in attachment?”) Then Saturday would come along and there was no way I was well enough yet to attend. That occurred week after week after week. During that time, I cancelled a day-long training, a weekend spiritual retreat, untold classes, and my daughter’s birthday party (we rescheduled it three times!)

When I finally released to the reality of the situation, and I mean literally relaxed the resistance in my body, I realized my attachment to my responsibilities. I also got how that attachment was affecting me and holding me back. I was seeing from a limited perspective – “I have to do this or people will be disappointed.” Rather than trusting the process, that there was a lesson involved, and I was going to be greater because of it and knowing that people understand (and continue living their lives quite happily with out me. ☺ )

I am still working on this one. I recently had a “set back” in which I became caught up in my responsibilities again. I needed to let go and be with the flow of what was happening, but I resisted and remained attached to my plan. I became full of adrenalin and very stressed. I am still feeling the effects in my body and mind almost 2 weeks later.

When I am not attached, it feels like I am floating in the ocean. I just allow the movement of the current to take me where it wants me to go. That may sound as if I am limp and not engaged in life. On the contrary, it makes me very engaged and dynamic. When I allow the flow of life to move me, I am in harmony with my surroundings and what the Universe wants for and from me. I feel the guidance I am receiving from my higher self. When I resist that flow, it is because my mind feels it knows better than the Universe and I become hard and unbending. I feel the discord in my heart and soul.

So, now the question is, how do we become detached? Do you even know what it feels like to be detached? I know I didn’t fully feel it until this year. According to the Yoga Sutras, the key is your practice. Moreover, maintaining your practice for a long, uninterrupted time. Being dedicated to it. Trust me, it is well worth your effort. The feeling of detachment is glorious!

When we give up attachment to everything, including the little self, then we find wisdom, power, and freedom. —Harold Klemp


I was teaching class last week and chuckled as my class heaved itself out of Savasana. It definitely brought up my desire to speak on the purpose of Savasana, especially discussing how exiting Savasana is an essential aspect to maintaining the essence of the pose. So, let’s look at the purpose of Savasana on a purely physical level.

On a physical level, yoga helps us release the nervous system and relax it, at least a bit. The nervous system is our body’s way of communicating to its various parts quickly. It controls our breathing, heart activity, among many other things. For our purpose, the most important responsibility of the nervous system is it controls the stress we feel as well as our relaxation. In our society and culture, we rev our nervous system at a high level. Using an analogy, it is quite similar to revving a car engine. At times this “revving” is quite beneficial because it helps us “take off” as soon as we hear a “go”. Most of the time, thought, it is an unnecessary action that slowly takes its toll on our body. Unfortunately, it easily becomes a habit, especially when we are exposed to as much as we are in our culture. We then begin to think in a revved state and hold our body in a revved state, slowly exhausting it.

When we do yoga, we begin to retrain the nervous system. The brain and the spine are the core of the nervous system. Yoga moves the spine around in all directions, freeing tight and frozen muscles and bringing new awareness and life to the nerves. This movement also helps retrain the body for new habits instead of the same old ones. When we continue to hold the body in the old way, it maintains the old thoughts. As we move the body in new ways, we begin to introduce new ways of being.

Savasana gives us a time to let the body integrate the new knowledge, the new way of being we learned during our practice. Just as studying to take an exam gives you an opportunity to review the knowledge you gained during a semester in school, when we rob the body of that opportunity, it easily falls back into its old way of being, the old habits, especially the nervous system.

So, skipping Savasana is almost akin to not doing a practice at all. Yoga will still help without it, but your time in Savasana helps imprint the new way in your body.

So, now we come back to where we began, what does hopping out of Savasana do? When you hop up out of Savasana, you easily grip muscles that can rev the nervous system again and cause the old habits to creep back in. Instead, come out slowly. Begin by bending your knees to release your lower back. Roll to one side and rest for a moment. Then, use your upper hand to press you up, keeping your upper leg relaxed. Let your head hang until you are sitting fully upright. Then lift your head. Keeping your head low helps deactivate the stimulation of the nervous system. Ahh…doesn’t that feel better?