What happens if a train goes by?

Savasana on the bike trail, in gorgeous weather, with a truck unloading heavy equipment, a train going by, and nonstop traffic. Tranquility!
Savasana on the bike trail, in gorgeous weather, with a truck unloading heavy equipment, a train going by, and nonstop traffic. Tranquility!

Savasana is a beautiful, and savasana is difficult. It’s those final minutes of a yoga practice where you have an opportunity to lie on your mat, eyes closed, and let your mind empty and your body relax.

Empty minds may seem pretty common these days, but in practice, it’s nearly impossible to find. NOT think about anything? For six minutes or more? Not the American way, is it?

So we allow our teachers to guide us. We work hard to practice a state of altered consciousness where our minds are focused on the experience, and where we try not to think about shopping lists, things we just remembered that we urgently need to do, whether that itch is actually a bug crawling on our face…

Everyone is expected to be silent and still, to not make a sound — even a cough can send heads snapping up to locate the source.

So what happens when a train goes by? When someone in the next room drops something with a loud crash? When someone has a coughing fit or — gasp — a cell phone rings?

Too often, we allow distractions to take control of our experience. It’s part expectation (I’m supposed to be relaxing, damn it!) and part intention (this is hard; it’s easier to think about how rude someone is for bringing a phone to class).

If you’re finding distractions difficult to deal with during savasana, try not to resist them so much next time. Instead of resisting the sounds or smells or lights that distract you from finding stillness, allow the distractions to become part of your practice.

When a train rumbles by, hear the sound with your ears without attaching to the outcome. Feel the rumble of the earth as it gently vibrates your skin. Allow yourself to relax into the sound and embrace it as an added experience.

If someone’s phone rings or buzzes during savasana, don’t wonder who dared to bring a phone to class. Don’t try to understand the motives of the caller. Let the ringing phone be another thing that swirls around your experience, allowing you to more deeply connect with your practice.

If all else fails, at the very least, congratulate yourself for not adding yours to the number of heads which turn when a distraction happens. You’re one step closer to peace!