When I taught group fitness I was used to having people leave during (or before the stretches). However, now I teach yoga I find people fall into one of two camps. Those that only come for the savasana, [affilate link] and the ones that leave before savasana. Now this rarely happens at the Yoga Studio. But at the gym… well that’s a different story. I hear all the time that people think “savasana is boring”. Well, newsflash people, it’s THE most important yoga pose! There are so many benefits of savasana. In other words, if you’re skipping it, you are missing out. Big-time!
For many of us it’s hard to imagine that someone could give up savasana, but trust me it happens. We’re all individual and some of us are more visual/audio learners so I created this video for you below. Don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe, and share! For my reading/writing learners well… let’s continue.
Balancing benefits of Savasana
Our lives are already stressful enough. We constantly run from one thing to the next. We’re adding more and more onto our plates, but rarely removing things. Self-care it seems is something that’s often last on our list. Yoga gives us some time to relax, unwind and let go. And that includes savasana. By skipping out you’re saying you aren’t worth relaxation time. That your body doesn’t deserve to rest. Sometimes in class I’ll say “rest here. Taking a short while, to do, absolutely nothing…. except breathe. Now… is YOUR time”. Savasana is a way of surrendering to self care. One of the best benefits of savasana.
Laying in savasana gives our body the opportunity to rest, reset and recalibrate. One of physical benefits of savasana is that our body shifts into parasympathetic mode. This is the “rest and digest” system where tummies may rumble, blood pressure lowers and we can find possible relief from symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Can you even do absolutely nothing physically for more than a few minutes? Savasana is a time of letting go and stillness. Corpses, after all, don’t move! As you become aware of muscular tics and twitches, can you ignore them and let go? This is why savasana is an advanced yoga pose! Find comfort in the pose, be still, and allow yourself to surrender.
Savasana also gives us the opportunity to compare and contrast how the body feels at the beginning, and at the end of class. Body scans are a big part of my teaching practice. Another way is to notice the breath. What’s the quality of the breath? Deep? Shallow? Quick? Slow? What area’s of the body move with your breath? Using the breath as a form of meditative relaxation allowing us to let go and surrender the body to the breath.
It’s known as the hardest pose in yoga. Why? Because doing nothing physically is a struggle for many, and it’s when we’re still that the monkey mind begins. For the majority of us, letting go of the body, can often be easier than letting go of the mind. The thoughts that occupy us in the early stages of savasana are often the most infuriating. I liken it to having insomnia and telling yourself to “just fall asleep”. It never happens.
While it can be a time of surrendering and letting go, it’s also a great opportunity for doing a guided meditation practice. As I already mentioned, I personally love body scans for this. But, breath again can also be a way to bring our minds back to the present.
- First, notice the monkey mind jump from one thing to another.
- Observe the fluctuations.
- Acknowledge them.
- Thank them for the reminders, and move them along.
- Gradually, bring focus back on your breath and sink into it.
Surrender the body, the mind, the heart and the breath to resting and doing less. Savasana is the time to ride the tides of the mind. Observe what arises, release it and let it pass. Allow yourself to sink into that soft space where nothing resides.
One thing I struggled for a long time is riding the line between sleep and savasana. It’s tricky! Honestly, I still sometimes fall asleep in savasana. And that’s ok. Occasionally! If it’s happening all the time I’d say you need to look at your sleep patterns and work on getting more deep sleep. But once in a while? Not a big deal. And honestly when most of us are sleep deprived and over-stressed its not a shock that most of us struggle staying awake when laying down. Can you be ok with occasionally falling asleep? What’s wrong with giving in to what your body apparently needs? Is there negativity associated with self care?
On the flip side sometimes when people struggle to relax in savasana. perhaps a fear falling asleep and being ‘that person’ that’s snoring? Maybe there is a negative association to closing the eyes and withdrawing inwards? Or perhaps past trauma? By closing our eyes in stillness, we allow ourselves the experience of letting go. This means we are no longer be in control. For many of us, that’s a tough thing to accept. Savasana can for some be a a trigger. In the past, that’s something I have certainly struggled with. But meeting those feelings and thoughts means recognizing the work that needs to be done on yourself.
Death and Rebirth
Savasana literally means corpse pose. Corpses are lifeless, or dead. Therefore savasana could be said to signify the end of something. And perhaps, the beginning of another. Getting up from savasana should be like waking from a long delicious nap. You should feel relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. Ready to continue with all the stressors and pressures of modern everyday life, but maybe with a more centered and grounded mindset. When emerging from the floor after savasana there should be a sense of lightness in body and mind. Personally, I often feel taller.
Philosophically savasana offers contemplation on life and death. We are alive in the practice of of asana beforehand, and then we become still. It offers us the realization that all we truly have is the present moment. If we’re willing to notice each precious breath. Each heartbeat. The magnificence of our physical body. The whirlpool of our thoughts. And allow it all to wash away, in the realization that what you really are is a spiritual being having a human experience. That this body will die, but your spirit will transcend the physical death. Where will you go then?
Are you ready to embrace savasana?
Many yoga teachers and home practitioners throw a brief savasana at the end of their practice. I admit I used to be the same. I didn’t appreciate the benefits. Now, I know better. In fact, sometimes my home practice is JUST a 20 minute savasana. We need to recognize that in the current culture of hustle and grind, resting is becoming important than ever! If you’re in class STAY for the savasana. If you’re at home practicing take time this week to add an extra 5-10 minutes to your savasana. Or heck even just do what I do and ONLY do savasana. Trust me it’s glorious. Are you ready to take the challenge to do less for your yoga practice? Because of the benefits of savasana, you’ll get so much more out of it!
- What do you think of savasana? Easy? Difficult?
- Do you struggle to relax?
- How long can you do nothing?