We were also taught in Jivamukti Teacher Training to be present for students in savasana, to aim to give cosmic massages, to meditate over students as they rest, to fully serve them. And because of what the Jivamukti lineage emphasizes, I have always seen savasana as a time for me to serve students who take the time to attend my class, to reciprocate the trust they put in me in this path of liberation.
Throughout the one short year of my teaching, I have felt many different emotions while giving the savasana massage. Mostly I feel gratitude. It is a privilege to be with students as they fully expose their vulnerabilities. It is where students let go of their egos. In those moments, I feel that I receive more than I give because in those moments, I live the essence of yoga. I experience that we are the same and there is no separation between the student and I. Sometimes, I feel the burden that the student is carrying. I feel perhaps the sadness of what the student is currently going through. One time, there was a student who for some reason reminded me of my father, and the experience was strange but welcoming at the same time. It opened my heart and mind, because it made me realize that every being I meet is a version of my father or my mother or my brother or my sister or my friend. And so, how can I not extend kindness out to them? On one occasion, a student stopped me from giving the massage. He was visibly irritated, and it taught me that even if I wanted to give my affection, some people will not be ready to receive it, and it is not my business to know, judge, or understand. A few days ago, a student reached out, held both my hands and squeezed them in gratitude, and I was so moved by this gesture. It felt to me as though our roles were reversed, that she was giving me something, that perhaps she saw very clearly my own human struggles and saw me as a whole being nonetheless. I feel that the words I just used did not give justice to that profound moment I experienced, but it is the best that I could do to describe it.
In the book Yoga Assists, my teacher, Jivamukti Yoga co-founder David Life, talks about how assists are really about connections, how we share energy, how we move as one unit. Perhaps one day I would feel the connection in most other asanas. But for now, it is during savasana that I feel it the most, and for that reason, savasana is my favorite pose.
Yoga comes from the word to yoke. It means oneness, union, interconnection. I feel that in savasana, when we release our egos, when we release our need to look good, when we release our desire to please, when we release our defenses not to be hurt, then we truly are the same soul, we truly are one.
Atha yoga-anuśasanam. Now this is Yoga as I have observed it in the natural world.