Nov 09

Shavasana aka Corpse Pose

The late fall season always feels like a running shavasana to me. Shavasana is a yogi term, coined from a sanskrit word meaning “corpse,” and is the very last thing you do before leaving your mat after a yoga class. The benefit of shavasana (or corpse pose) is to let everything you have just done and felt and experienced in the class absorb into your mind and body.

You lie still, close your eyes and try not to either fall asleep or let your mind frantically race toward everything you need to do the moment class is over.

After what happened last night I feel like I could lay in shavasana for a very, very long time and still never absorb WTF happened.

 

A rare photo of me doing yoga. This is crow pose on the beach in Portugal after my duathlon in Spain in 2014.

A rare photo of me doing yoga. This is crow pose on the beach in Portugal after my duathlon in Spain in 2014.

As you may have guessed, I had a very difficult time with shavasana, when I used to practice yoga. I currently have a hard time with my workout cool downs, which are basically the shavasana of running. I generally operate at one speed – – fast. I like to constantly be on the move both with my mind and body. Stillness terrifies me. Slowing down is difficult. Resting is insanity.

The problem with speeding though workouts (and life) is not absorbing the enormity of what you have just done. If you’re never in the present, how can you enjoy your accomplishment and let it all truly soak in?

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Right now, I’m extremely tempted to try and block out all the negativity of who our country just elected to become it’s leader. Right now, I desperately want to skip the part where I have to tell my kids who won the election. For the first time in my life I’m going to struggle with respecting a president of my country and figure out where my pride will come from. Right now, I’m having a very hard time understanding the people I live with in this country and I want to collectively ask “how could you?” and ring the shame bell.

Death: The Ultimate Relaxation

“It is called corpse pose not only because of the position of the body, but also in its ability to prepare you for the ultimate relaxation: death.  Far from the macabre coloring death has taken on the western society, in yogic tradition death is the most important moment of life.”

Well, that’s one way to look at it!

If you look at death as “the most important moment of life” it kind of changes everything, doesn’t it? It’s an extreme perspective but perhaps this training and racing offseason calls for extreme measures. Nonetheless, it is something to ponder as you move through today and this week and the month and so on.

"I never did much yoga, but this corpse pose feels great!"

R-E-L-A-X

Obviously the election has taken a toll on all of us. I have seen and read things I wish I could unsee and unhear and I’m truly devastated about the outcome. Instead of celebrating history I feel as though we are going to repeat the worst parts of it with the most incompetent, bigoted, racist, sexist and ignorant leader.

Worst of all, I have to some how come to terms with the fact it was my fellow Americans who elected him.

It’s in times like this when im most grateful for my running and I feel as though I could run forever today. Unfortunately for me, I have a swim on my schedule because, offseason.

I want to keep in mind that this is the offseason I have worked so hard to be on the other side of. I want to make time to enjoy it and truly put an “off” in my offseason. I’ve earned it.

And, as my most favorite quarterback loves to tell his fans: R-E-L-A-X because this is what happens when you do:

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Things are not always what they seem or as bad as they may seem at first. A great piece of advice I was given before running my first marathon was to remember that over 26.2 “things are never as bad or as good as they seem.” It helped. Maybe it will help move me though these next four years.

Absorb

The purpose of shavasana and a cool down is to absorb the fitness. To literally slow down and let the fitness sink in, to slow the mind and body back down, as you prepare to resume your normal life.

Easing back into reality after a vigorous workout (or a horrendous election result) allows for an adjustment. I know my body and mind will need an adjustment over this next week, and I will take the time make it.

Being still is sometimes the best way to move forward.

Sometimes you are forced into corpse pose after a run.

Sometimes you are forced into corpse pose after a run.

Namaste bitches! I’m off to Las Vegas to race the RnR Half Marathon…which is how I relax.

 

How is everyone doing today?

Do you love or hate cool downs/shavasana? 

 

40 comments

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  1. I had a great night of sleep and woke up to this shit. Ugh. I’m trying to figure out how to tell my kids that the mean man will now be the leader of our country. What a great role model. Like you I am pondering how my fellow Americans could do this. So many questions. Going for a run now. I need it.
    Angela @ happy fit mama recently posted…4 Running Workouts to Increase SpeedMy Profile

    1. I hope you had a good run and, at least you had a good night of sleep 🙂

  2. What a great post and I could definitely use it. I struggle with relaxing and could use it today. Have fun at RnR. That is a race I’ve always wanted to do but I don’t know how I would do racing that late LOL.
    Hollie recently posted…Run the Bridge 10k (38:58)My Profile

    1. Thanks Hollie and, I’m struggling with the start time AND the heat – it’s supposed to be around 80!! Yikes.

  3. I always tell my clients (and, well, anyone who asks) to take a running shavasana after a big race. Let the body absorb the work that just occurred, and then come back.
    I don’t know what to do today. I really don’t. I am scared for our future, but I know that, at the very least, I am surrounded here in IL (and Chicago) by like minded people. I think it would be far worse if I was in a red state. But yes, I am scared. But I am going to try to choose love, as I spoke of yesterday.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…How to Turn Your Dog into a Running Partner (Whistle Review)My Profile

    1. I’m so glad we completely agree on the running shavasana…and the election. I too am in a blue state but, also like you, just scared for the rest of the country and what it will look like a year from now. I so desperately wanted to feel today like I did in 2008 when Obama was first elected, instead I’m feeling the opposite. I just hope I’m wrong about Trump on a lot of levels and that we can come together and do some good. Maybe?

  4. Uggh, I don’t even want to talk about this. It makes me sick to my stomach. Anyhoo…I hope you have an AMAZING time in Vegas! Wish I could be there with you! XOXO

    1. Agreed. And SOOOO wish you were going to Vegas. We need to plan another get together!!!!

    • Ana on November 9, 2016 at 7:58 AM
    • Reply

    I am not ok. I couldn’t sleep and got up to see what was happening with the results, only to find out that he won. I started crying. Not because I’m overly political, but because this man has spewed so much hatred directly towards my people, and now he is president. I kept asking myself the same thing you ask, how will I tell my son? That the president hates his mother for being Mexican? that the president and his followers hates our entire family? I am so scared.
    Ana recently posted…I Cannot DealMy Profile

    1. I am so sorry. I know how you feel and it’s just a very sad and scary time for our country and our children. I can only hope that Trump was a true salesman in his campaign and will not deliver on his “promises.” However, the damage has been done and now all his followers think they have a voice. Time will tell… xoxo

  5. I couldn’t write about the election. I had a post in mind for today and it was all about running. I decided to go with it. But I struggled with focus as I sat down to write last night. I had the election returns on and when I saw Michigan going to Trump, I KNEW. I’m sad and I’m sickened and I want to lay down in corpse pose for the next 4 years.

    Namaste.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…DeterminationMy Profile

    1. I couldn’t NOT write about it. Nothing else felt real to me so I thought either I take the whole post down or write about how I feel. I chose the latter even though this isn’t a political blog. I may regret it but…

      Can we lay side by side with wine in the middle? 🙂 xo

  6. i’m still awe struck. i couldn’t stomach it last night, i got a bad feeling in my gut pretty early on. after i put Lulu down to bed i came down and tried to watch a few minutes, but it was sad. it was still early but i knew it wasn’t good. something just felt very off and very hopeless.
    i don’t think anyone i knew slept last night, even though i was in bed i waited for my husband to tell me the outcome. when he did i didn’t say anything and just lay there. wondering what happened?
    oh well, i’m just proud that i got to partake in history. i’m glad i used my first vote for something i believed in. i’m not sure how to take the rest of this mess but i’ll just go back to life and hug my baby, and have a good run and spin class. it’s the good things.
    this makes me want to gather with all my friends and loved ones near and far and just hug everyone. and drink. LOL.
    go rock that RnR in vegas baby! you got this. beware of the giant carrot, i’m sure you’re way faster than him anyway 🙂
    danielle recently posted…WIR sleep less play moreMy Profile

    1. I completely agree that it just felt like it was going the wrong way from the start. By 10pm I had it and went to bed but barely slept.

      I think you have such a great idea of gathering and embracing all the GOOD and all the LOVE. It will be ok but this is a hard start…

      Looking forward to wallowing in Vegas 🙂

  7. I wish I could skip work and lay in savasana all day…. I can’t move today….. I will take a day or two to let this absorb, and then it’s time for action…. progress takes time….
    Have a great time in Vegas…. enjoy your half!
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…PromiseMy Profile

    1. YES and YES!!!
      Thank you and, if you feel like driving out to Vegas… 🙂

  8. Today was hard. Not just as a parent, but as a 4th grade teacher. Very impressionable minds. Bubbling emotions and me, the teacher, trying to remain professional and guide young minds. We sat in a circle on the carpet and I reminded them to Uplift, Motivate, and Inspire each other. Through my tears, I told my students that they are the future-they have the ability to rebuild the crumbling foundation of our country. Tough day. Running and yoga can provide some relief. I”ll be cheering you on virtually, for an awesome run in Vegas.
    Kara A. Forrest recently posted…Fall Weekends-Running and RecipesMy Profile

    1. I cannot imagine how hard that was Kara!! It was difficult enough having the conversation with my boys but, it actually made me feel better and more hopeful…kids have a way of doing that. I think you said all the right things to them.
      Thank you!!

  9. This yoga pose is perfect for today 🙂 You know how to call em Allie! You know how I feel.
    Nellie recently posted…NFL Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Gifts Every Fan Will Love!My Profile

    1. Thank you!! Sending you love today my friend!!

    • Aimee on November 9, 2016 at 12:20 PM
    • Reply

    My, oh my….did I need to read this today! I like to think I know how to relax…but deep down, I know that I truly have no clue. My boyfriend often tells me to “take it down a notch” (my thinking/planning). He reminds me “you do not need to have every second of your life planned out”. What the wha??? heck ya I do! 😉 Seriously, though…taking those deep breaths and relaxing is my new goal in life (and yes, especially after last night).

    Good luck in Vegas!!

    1. I’m so glad!! My life sounds a lot like yours (and my husband a lot like your boyfriend 🙂 Keep taking deep breaths and we will make it though the week. Baby steps.
      Thank you!

  10. That race this weekend will be epic. Make it your bitch. <3
    Suzy recently posted…PressedMy Profile

    1. You know it.

  11. Such an eloquent, timely post! I’m stiff as a board in shavasana – I think Jes even has a photo of that from the retreat. But last night I pretty much was in corpse pose by the time we turned off the election coverage. My husband this morning apologized to me that we live a country where the president as committed sexual assault and people turn a blind eye. I think our whole country now need to chill the eff out in savasana for a while.
    Have a great time in Vegas and enjoy your race and vacation!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Healthy and Safe Running with Your DogMy Profile

  12. I need all the savasana today. I actually feel like a corpse. So devastated.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Motivation from Team Better + WIAWMy Profile

  13. LOL! HAHA

    No, the election has not affected ALL of us in the naively presumptive way you dread. The majority (of which you are not part) of America acts and makes objective and concrete decisions based upon what is in America’s best interest.

    This is thankfully in opposition to the naive and ill-guided minority that reacts on impulse born of a frenzied emotional morass and fueled by politically correct propaganda.

    Concerning your comment of respecting the President and the expletives your saddle him with such as incompetent, bigoted, racist, sexist and ignorant leader, you condemn traits you find easy to exhibit.

    Being a feminist, YOU obligatorily are sexist; not tolerating another point of view and ringing the ‘shame bell’ (to save us all I presume?) makes YOU the bully and bigot; and as for incompetence, we just have to look no further than Obamacare (what a success that is; now on life support!).

    No, time for you to get off your high horse of politically correct morality and find the intrinsic peace you so eloquently attempt to describe in this post yet fall so short of as your myopic search is solely based on irrational emotional reflex to extrinsic events.

    Perhaps a great way to explore the diametrically opposed point of view in this case (if your dare escape your smug cocoon in which you preach to your all admiring choir), is to inquire from individuals who have risked their lives to flee oppressive regimes in which only 1 point of view was tolerated; why they voted the way they did?

    Surely it must be connected to YOUR ‘shame bell’, which invariably leads to intolerance. Hmmmm, seems I remember something like that in the Germany of 1930s? Shaming an entire demographic because of who they are, or who the propaganda machine labelled them as.

    I won’t be surprised that you not publish this comment, that’s what bullies do, squash all opposing points of view (even when you are the minority, no, especially when you are the minority).

    Spending the next 4 years honing your triathlete potential would be a more constructive evolution in your case I would think.

    A deplorable from the basket of the American majority:)
    Claude recently posted…Natalie day 9My Profile

    1. Thank you for your original white male viewpoint.
      I did not use expletives – those are swears – believe me, I wanted to.
      Any President who says he will “grab women by the pussy,” that Mexicans are “rapists”, how a flat-chested woman could never be a 10, and that all blacks “live in hell” – is exactly as I described him – racist, sexist, bigoted. Please tell me where I’m wrong on this point?
      Calling me a bully is shame on you Cluade. As for being afraid of posting your comment? I welcome it. It’s the ignorance of people like you who elected this man and the only thing I fear is the uneducated making decisions for an entire country based on FEAR. I hope you can live with the consequences of your choice for president.
      As for being a feminist – you bet your ass I am and it has absolutely nothing to do with being sexist. It’s the opposite of that. Maybe you should look it up and educate yourself. It will serve you well.

    • Jenny on November 11, 2016 at 8:32 AM
    • Reply

    Well, I live in a red state (Florida) so imagine how i must feel. Not only did my vote not count (because of the electoral college nonsense) but I’ve walked around these past days feeling like such an outsider. i have to remind myself over and over again that Hillary won the popular vote, so the majority of people in this country (a slim majority, but still a majority) feel the same way I do. It helps, a little, but the outcome of the election and the impact on our country is still the same.

    1. I cannot imagine living somewhere like Florida and having voted for Hillary. I’m so sorry as I’m sure you are feeling the effects 10 fold. But yes, Hillary did win the popular vote so we can cling to that and, although Trump is making some questionable choices for his “team” he has also gone back on a lot of campaign promises already so let’s hope that trend continues.
      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  14. I never understood the people who leave yoga class at shavasana. I work hard for the shavasana!
    Courtney recently posted…2016 Election Disappointment? This Helps.My Profile

    1. LOL! YES!!! Even though I struggles with it, I never left class before it was over 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  15. I don’t do yoga, but I love cool downs in classes I take. I’ll admit I don’t cool down as much as I should on my own. I’ve been doing lots of deep breathing this week, though. Have a blast in Vegas – I love seeing your happy FB posts and pics; it’s a much needed change in my FB feed!
    Dana recently posted…The elephant in the roomMy Profile

    1. Thanks Dana! It was so great just to get away from all the political noise (even though there were plenty of protests near the Trump building in Vegas) and just have a lot of fun with my family. It was truly an amazing weekend and I’m so ready to write about something super positive!!

  16. Love that you posted this… I was off social media for several days last week, just sick to my stomach about this whole thing. I’ve had all the emotions, but mostly grief.

    On a lighter note, I hope you had an amazing weekend away!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…What’s next?My Profile

    1. Yes, grief for sure. I had the most amazing weekend and race and I’m so looking forward to getting this post down and the race recap UP! Thanks Laura 🙂

  17. You have such a gift with words. Shavasana is definitely something we all need right now. Some stillness to reflect and aborb and then to be able to move forward again. xoxo
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…NYC Marathon Recap Part I–The expo, Meb, Kathrine Switzer and Bart Yasso!My Profile

    1. Thank you so much for saying that Sandra. I feel like I’m breathing again and at least found a way to move forward. xoxo

  18. Now and forever always I need savasana. Especially now. Between post-election anxiety and pre-race anxiety and work anxiety and solo parenting anxiety, it’s been a doozy. Thank you for this. We all need this.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Trusting the ProcessMy Profile

    1. OMG seriously! You are in the ultimate pressure cooker right now. Luckily, you are an expert yogi and I’m SURE you are practicing self-care…right? Right? 🙂 xoxo

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