Monday, April 04, 2005

Lying In State, Savasana

I just got back a few days ago from a trip to Fayetteville, AR. I had the great pleasure of meeting Andrea Fournet, the Arkansas "Yoga Lady," whom everyone in Arkansas recognizes because of her ubiquitous yoga classes televised on Jones Network, Fayetteville Community Access, and Arkansas Educational Television Network/PBS. See

She was a gracious host. And her students welcomed us with enthusiasm as we taught the Experience Sanskrit Workshop to a packed house. We laughed. We cried. We even told Sanskrit jokes. We sang. We had fun.

(You can have fun, too. Check out if you'd like to bring the Experience Sanskrit Workshop to your town.)

Andrea, Sallie and I were talking about our teacher training programs when she mentioned that one of her new teachers asked her advice about students who leave class before the final relaxation pose, savasana. Her quck-to-leave students wanted a workout and couldn't quite fit lying down quietly into that picture of the way things ought to be.

Andrea had a marvelous piece of advice for her new teacher: tell your students that savasana is like dessert at the end of a meal. You never want to miss it. And no matter how much you've eaten, you always have room for more. I loved it.

But it made me sad that some people won't try something new, simply because it doesn't fit their pre-conceived notions of what's desireable. It also saddened me that the student had so little regard for the teacher that he wouldn't honor her by following her leadership, even in the context of a classroom.

But I digress...

What I really wanted to point out is my discovery that Baron Baptiste in his recent book says he never refers to savasana as "corpse pose" in any of his classes. He always and only calls it savasana.

I suppose it's just like the scenes in the movie 'Moonstruck.' When Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis) finds out her husband Cosmo is cheating on her, she asks everyone she meets, "Why do men chase women?" Finally, her soon-to-be ex-son-in-law Johnny Cammareri blurts out, "I don't know. Maybe they fear death." That solved the whole puzzle for Rose. And it may solve one for us, too.

Maybe Baron fears death. Maybe the students who hit the door running at the end of class do, too.

Patanjali even addresses this in the 2nd pada of his YogaSutra. He enumerates the kleshas or obstacles to progress in yoga, one of which is abhinivesha, clingning to life or fear of death.

This is getting long. I'll pick up again later where I left off.

Until then, don't be afraid. Lie down and rest in savasana. Everyone gets up from this practice. Think of it more like baptism, a sign of resurrection. You'll get up better than when you went down.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Send me an email at if you want to know more about the year-long Experience Yoga Teacher Training Program, taught by me and Sallie Keeney, coming up later this year in St. Louis. We'll meet one weekend each month. You'll finish with all the hours you need to be a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher. And the big deal is that we focus on Teaching Yoga, not learning to do yoga poses. Doing yoga and teaching yoga are two quite different endeavors. As usual, what we do is based on Experience. Email me too if you'd like to read some of the comments we've received from our past students. They're fantastic.

p.p.s. My daughter was just baptized at our church last week. And she made her first Holy Communion. Congratulations, sweetie. We are proud of you.

My daughter Posted by Hello
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


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