Sports cancelled. Restaurants closed. School on spring break. Even some work capabilities have been limited or overall released. In the words of our children, there’s nothing to do.
Now, I don’t know much about “social distancing” and have zero experience with epidemiology. But let me share for a moment something I do know something about: a resting pose.
For years I’ve watched folks enter Savasana, translated as corpse pose. Especially with those new to yoga, but even after years of practice, some people struggle with this mandated rest time. Fingers tap. Toes shake. Skin suddenly itches and clothes stop fitting comfortably.
Some of this is conditioned response, especially for individuals with a history of trauma. Our bodies are designed for a level of alertness to keep us safe and out of danger (thank you, sympathetic nervous system). This sense of ok-what’s-next-ness is part of the hardwiring.
And the undercurrent of our society has taken that hardwiring and hotwired it. We’re a culture that thrives on fear: fear of not being enough, doing enough, having enough. The millions of advertisements every day convince us that we have a whatever-sized-hole in our hearts that can only be filled by their product. Without the next, newest, nicest we will fail to find worthiness as a human.
What in the world does this have to do with pandemics and yoga poses?
Second to the concern of our citizens and our healthcare system is how this entire situation will affect our economy. As a local business owner, I feel this. Hard.
Here’s the tricky truth of our economic prosperity: we begin to believe that we’re only as valuable as what we can produce or consume. But we are worth far more than that.
In the weeks preceding this situation I found myself telling yogis this “doing nothing” rest pose is just as valuable – if not more so – to their overall practice as the most complicated balancing pose they attempted or mastered that day.
In the same way, as a human, you maintain the same worthiness while doing absolutely nothing as when you’re doing the most important work you do all day.
We’re being corralled into savasana – a really long, beautiful rest. Some of us cannot work fully or at all. (Some of us are working double-time and I vote we give you a break, too, when this blows over.) We’re going to find ways to wiggle around and avoid the rest: cleaning the kitchen, Kon Marie-ing our closets, creating governance over the children’s day. And while there’s nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves (it IS the perfect time for a good spring cleaning), please notice the thoughts and feelings that arise in your “uselessness” time.
You’ll hear the echoes of that other side of life: You’re not doing enough. You’re not making, consuming, contributing enough. You’re not enough.
The beauty of the Savasana is when you find that place where you can remember that you are enough. This is enough.
You’re not measured by your income, expenditures, hours logged, or GDP. There is a place deep within where you can remember this, when you quiet everything else to hear the soul whisper enough.