Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘corpse pose’

Excited For Corpse Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on December 9, 2019

I recently taught a class where it was requested that I split the class. The facilitator wanted me to teach half of it as Nia and half as yoga. As we were getting up off of our mats at the end of class, one student said, “What happen? Why did you cut it short? Normally it is longer?” A couple of us stopped and asked, “What?” She repeated her questions and to us it sounded as if she was saying that we usually went until 1:10 because a few of us answered her with, “No, we always end at 1:00.” She clarified that she was saying that shavasana is usually ten minutes and she was asking why I cut it short. I was so happy. With the split class I thought that they would want a shorter shavasana so they could do more active yoga. I was so surprised.

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This class enjoys their shavasana. The class I teach is in the middle of their work day and so they come to get some yoga in and they love to end with shavasana. I am a real stickler when it comes to shavasana in the yoga classes I teach. I believe that for some people it is the only time of day when they might get a little rest. If I start shavasana and you, as a student, stay, then, in my classes you are agreeing to stay until the end and resolve to be still. You are agreeing to give yourself that time to relax and to rest. You are agreeing to keep the space that we created and not break it by leaving before the class is done. It could be the only time where someone isn’t making demands on you _ whether it is normally your job, your kids, your (other) family, or just life in general that is requiring your attention – shavasana is the one time for you. It is a sacred time.

I was so excited to hear that these students enjoyed shavasana. They were disappointed that it was not as long as it usually is.

After the class the facilitator and I were discussing the class and I mentioned that some people were disappointed because shavasana was cut short and she shared that the employees had told her that they really enjoy shavasana. I am so happy about that.

I often hear that shavasana is one of the most difficult poses. It seems that society has proclaimed that people always have to be busy, they have to be DOING, so it makes sense that shavasana is such a challenge. Some people have so much pain and discomfort in their bodies that is it difficult for them to lie on their back* and be still for some time. And some of us have that busy “monkey mind” so it is hard to quiet it. Often times when the mind can’t be quieted the body can’t either. If neither one can be still it makes shavasana very difficult. So it can really be a pose that needs practice. So I was excited to hear that some students actually look forward to the time we allow for it.

I am looking forward to this week and being able to give them the time they look forward to each week.

*Shavasana is done in corpse pose or IS corpse pose . . . which is lying on your back . . . I instruct students on how to do the pose, but always encourage those that have pain or who are uncomfortable to get into a comfortable position so that they can be still and enjoy the benefits of stillness of the body and the mind.

What about you?  Do you enjoy shavasana?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Time For You To Relax

Posted by terrepruitt on August 6, 2018

It is funny how time is. It might seem like you just saw a friend a couple of months ago, but it turns out to be a year or two. You might think you just got your nails done – because they look good still, but it has been three weeks. You might think you just saw a movie, but it turns out it have been years. The same kind of thing bleeds into writing a blog, at least for me. Sometimes I think I want to write about a topic and I think, “I just wrote about that.” Then when I look it up it was years ago. Or the really funny ones to me are when I can’t even find that I posted about it at all! I have been wanting to write again about shavasana, but I was thinking I had just written a post about it. But it turns out I posted about it four years ago. That is so amazing to me because I can hear and see the person (the one I mentioned in the post) talking to me. Anyway, I wanted to say some additional things about shavasana.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesLet me alert you to the fact that if you come to my one of my classes, I always reserve time for shavasana. I like to start it at 10 minutes before the class ends. I like to give students about eight minutes. I consider shavasana a very important part of a class. I think of it as a sacred time. It is part of the yoga practice. It is part of the yoga routine. Just as much as all of the other poses, shavasana is about you, the student, and your body. Just like the prior portion of the class it could be the only time in my students’ day where they really are just doing something for themselves. There is nothing to be thinking of and no movement to be made. It is all about relaxation.

I feel it is very important to have this time in the day. Especially with the busy-ness of society. Just taking about 8 minutes to do nothing can help with so much.

Since I whole-heartedly consider this time to be sacred I ask anyone that has to leave before the class is over to leave before shavasana starts. The best way to go, if you have to leave, is to gather your stuff as quickly and quietly as you can and go. None of us mind putting away any props that were used (we only have chairs available) because the remaining students want to get on with their relaxation. When someone leaves – and there are times it is necessary – it kind of changes the atmosphere in the room so the sooner the departure the better so we can get back to the calm.

I usually talk for three to five minutes, slowly having the students focus on relaxation from toe to head. Then they just relax as the music plays. This is the time where the body is allowed to enjoy the sensation – even on an unconscious level – of the poses they just practiced. It allows the body time to adjust before it rushes back into the go-go-go. It is the same for the mind. Shavasana is time and space for the mind to rest. That doesn’t mean that thoughts won’t crop up, but it is the time where you are allowed to just give thoughts a nod and a little push, so they go away and you focus back on your body and your breath. This is the time when you can also take a break from emotions or just let them flow. Also a time when your spirit gets to rest and relax. No need to exercise anything but stillness.

I know it is so difficult for some people in the beginning, but just like with any practice it gets to be something one can do.  And just like all poses some days you may be “better” at it than others.  It is all great, because it is all part of the practice.  The important part – at least to me – is to not skip it.

What are your thoughts on shavasana?  Do you like it?  Do you not like it?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Shavasana Three Different Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 31, 2017

This will be the fourth post that is showing an example of three different ways to cue. The three basic ways to cue that I’m talking about are: just referencing body parts and how to move them, that is Anatomic. Then there is where you talk about how the pose or movement is sensed in the body, that is Sensory. A third way is using images and known movements to help people to get into a pose, that’s Imagery. I am confident that most teachers do a mixture and most students probably aren’t even aware of the three different ways. There really is no need to be aware of them and see the difference. I just think it is interesting. It is really interesting – to me – as a teacher to see how different students respond to different cues. Sometimes I find that I have to cue a movement with more than one way in order to get everyone to move. But that doesn’t happen often. For now, this will be my last “Three Cue” post. I can see myself picking more asana in the future to cue the three different ways, but for now I am going to end with Shavasana.  I don’t know how to add just audio to a post, so I did it as a video.  Just me talking while filming a candle burning.  But they are short, so hopefully you’ll listen.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Anatomic
Lie on your back and close your eyes. Before you relax lengthen your spine, reaching the crown of your head away from your neck, and your ribs away from your hips. Allow your legs to relax, your feet falling comfortably as they may. Let collar bones move away from each other, opening your chest. Your arms are on the floor running the length of your body. Your hands are at hip level wider than shoulder width, so somewhat away from your body. Palms are up. Fingers are relaxed so they might curl. Breathe and relax. Becoming heavy on the floor.

Sensory
Lie on your back gaze toward the sky even with your eyes closed. Sense your head moving away from your shoulders. Sense your shoulders relax. Create space between your ribs and your hips. And create space between each rib. Sense your spine lengthen. Your legs are soft so your feet may fall gently outwards. Your arms feel the earth down their entire length, because they are straight and resting comfortably on the earth. Feel the ground with the back of your hands, as your palms face the sky. Your hands are down near your hips but away from them, wider than your shoulders. Breathe, let the relaxation be a sense of pleasant heaviness.

Imagery
As you lie down close your eyes and imagine you are floating on a cloud. Everything is comfortable. Your entire body is happy because of the practice you just did. Your elongated spine has a lot of comfortable space between each back bone. Your legs are relaxed allowing your feet to gently fall where they may. Your arms are straight with back of palms on the cloud. There is space between your hips and hands. As you float your arms become heavy, sinking into the softness of the cloud. Your breath is even and relaxed. Every muscle from your head to your toes relaxes into the fluffiness of the cloud.

So there you have it.  Perhaps bringing a new awareness to your practice and your poses with knowing about the three different ways.  Perhaps not.  As I said, not something you really need to know, just something cool, if you are interested in that type of stuff.

Any thoughts on the three different ways to cue?  Any thoughts on the cuing of this pose?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Never Cease

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2014

I teach Nia which is a cardio dance available to any age.  At both the low end of the age spectrum and the high end of the age spectrum, if you can safely move about the floor and follow basic movements you can do Nia.  So there are young and old Nia dancers.  I teach at facilities that have age restrictions, but that is only the facilities, not Nia.  Then I also teach gentle yoga to older adults.  The classes are held at the “Senior Centers” so while some of the classes are open to those 18 years and older the population in class tends to be older.  As I am sure many of you that teach at a facility with older people will attest, it is amazing to work with these people.  They come week after week and keep trying.  In my class I have a wide variety of experience levels.  They come back every week and do the poses to the best of their ability.  I am inspired by their drive to keep doing.

I check in with them to confirm that they are seeing and feeling some benefit to the class.  With many I can see it, but I want to confirm that they recognize it.  Recently one of my students was sharing some things he learned and he said, “I learned that I need to learn how to relax.”  I laughed and agreed.  It is not easy to do for some.  It is not always second nature to breathe and “rest” into a pose.  The corpse pose at the end of the class is one of those poses.  In fact one class asked if we “had to” do it.  I said yes.  To me that is part of yoga.  That is part of my class.  I believe that quieting the mind and relaxing for 5 to 10 minutes after a class is necessary.  For many it is a Challenging Easy Pose, it is difficult to be still.  Just now as I am typing I remember this person not being able to be still at all when we first started doing yoga.  Now there is stillness.  I believe every one can benefit from this moment of restfulness.  I love that even those who think it is unnecessary, keep trying.

A bit ago we did a pose that several students said is “hard”.  I agreed with them.  It is hard . . . that is why we are doing it.  We are doing a very modified version, but it is one of those poses that works many if not all the muscles in your body, so yes, it is “hard”.  And we do it so that they can benefit from it.  In working on so many muscles it is a balance pose, that requires flexibility and strength.  One of those awesome poses that does so much . . . so we do it.  And what spurred me to write this post is that while they were saying it was hard they were not saying, “It’s hard, I don’t want to do it.”  They were just saying, “Wow, this is hard.”  And then they moved into position to do it again.  Love it.  Love those inspiring active people in my classes!

I just wanted to share with you that I have some amazing inspirations in my life.

What about you?  Do you know any older adults that cause you to think, “I wanna be like that when I am their age”?  Some of those people that just keep trying?  They might not be doing it in a clearly recognizable way but they are still trying?

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Challenging Easy Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on February 25, 2014

I love my students. They are a great source to me; they teach me and they make me laugh. Recently one of my students happen to mention a policy that was told to her – a facility stated she could try the class for 10 minutes without charge, but would have to sign up for the class to stay longer. The comments from those that she was sharing this with was that 10 minutes was not really long enough to get a sense of the class and if they would like it. She said, “I know, if I would have only stayed 10 minutes I would have missed the nap time at the end!” That was the best. She, of course, was kidding . . . sort of. She was talking about Shavasana. A very important part, yet for many, one of the most difficult times in yoga.

She was kidding in the sense that we all know it is not nap time, but not having been familiar with yoga she would have missed seeing that part of the class if she had only been allowed to stay for 10 minutes. Shavasana is a pose of total relaxation. It is where you allow your body to rest and relax from the workout it just participated in. In some classes this is a necessary time for recuperation of the body, but in others it might not be so much about the body. In a Gentle Yoga class it could be more about the mind. In Nia we have BMES – Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit. We could say that shavasana is a time for those four things. So after a nice gentle class it could be more a time more for the mind, emotion, and spirit to relax. While the inner dialog should be kept to a minimum while practicing the asanas it is even more important to do so during shavasana. This is the time when the body absorbs all the goodness from the poses it just performed.

I had once thought that you DID shavasana IN the corpse pose, but the name comes from the Sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse” or dead body and Asana meaning “posture”.*

One of the reasons shavasana is so difficult is because there is not supposed to be any inner dialog going on (as I just mentioned). This is not the time where you begin making your shopping list for your trip to the store after class, or where you decide what you are going to say to your boss/friend/spouse. This is a time of quiet, a time of reflection, a time where you do a “body check”. Check in with each body part or area of your body to see if it needs any attention, see if it needs to be relaxed and focus on allowing it to relax. Sometimes because of this relaxation one might fall asleep. When I first started every time I did shavasana I fell asleep. Now I don’t, I am better at being mindfully relaxed. It is a practice though. This might not be something that comes easy to you, it might be a challenge, but it is something worth practicing.

I’ve heard different ideas on how to hold shavasana in a class. Some say that a guided meditation is the way it should be done. Some say that total silence is the only right way. Some say some music or nature sounds should accompany this pose. In my classes I usually softly lead the participants into a relaxed state. Then I allow them quiet time with this pose — I do have sounds playing during class and I don’t turn that off, but sometimes I turn it down. Then after the time allowed I talk them back to awakening their bodies and moving again.

If this pose and time is not something that you include in your yoga practice, I encourage you to give it a go. Try it. If you fall asleep that is ok. But keep doing it and when you are able to achieve that relaxed state while staying awake you will see how powerful this simple pose is.

Do you practice shavasana? Have you ever fallen asleep during shavasana? How long do you stay in this pose?

*Wiki and Jaisiyaram

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »