We’re at the end of last last Friday’s first led class. “Sapta…” then Sharath surprises the entire shala this morning as he instructs us to jump through and lie down. It’s a miracle! I can’t remember that last time I’ve taken rest (what most people call shavasana but what Sharath calls "taking rest") after a led class. Certainly not in this trip. Possibly not last trip either.
He sees the confusion in our faces and explains, “first time in four months.” He smiles and gestures for us to take to our mats. There is something gentle about Sharath at this moment. Not demonstrative (that would be out of character), but loving in his reserved and strangely paternal way. We all lie down, feel the entire room hush and the rest grounds us after a full-powered led primary.
The energy is shifting on this first of March. This is the second Friday with only two led classes. And while it was still very full this morning (locker rooms, the marble passage way, and lobby all occupied) it had only a little of the craziness (and pushing!) of the Friday before. A lot more people are leaving over this weekend and early next week, our numbers are dropping.
Tuesday (April 26) before leaving the shala for the morning, Sharath looked at the clock, smiled and also noted that it was the first time in four months that self-practice finished before 11am. Sharath has been teaching, assisting, adjusting, back-bending hundreds of students for 8 months straight, a monster stretch. During the last four months, the peak of the season, he’s been teaching for at the very least six and a half hours straight. One less led class and smaller numbers means more rest for him as well.
This shavasana (I admit, I have a hard time calling it anything else but that) marks a change of rhythm for the shala—and for me personally. That frenetic energy that came with the swelling shala numbers at the beginning of the year is starting to relax. We are reaching the home stretch of a long season. Space is starting to open up. As well as time.
With less than two weeks to go and assisting at the shala done, I can't help but feel like the time has finally come to settle into practice, to take rest, to allow for the magic to really happen.
While post led class shavasana-s continue to be rare, the one two Fridays ago is a reminder that I have to be responsible to give myself rest, to allow for the practice to integrate deeply into my system, to give space for the real yoga to happen.