Ah, the yoga bliss of savasana. Sometimes at the beginning of class I ask if anyone has a request. One of the most frequent is “Savasana please!” followed by a big grin.
Savasana literally translates as corpse pose, and signifies the end of the practice and a time of transition. It is one of the most difficult yoga poses to do fully. Why?
Well, because totally relaxing and yet staying fully present is not something most of us know how to do. Yet this pose is one of the most beneficial, so it’s worth giving the practice of mindful relaxation your best… ‘er… effort. 🙂
Some people fall asleep in savasana. This is because their body says, “oh, we’re lying down and relaxing, eh? Guess it’s time for a nap.” Which makes sense when you consider that sleeping may be the only time many people actually relax.
Others have a very difficult time letting go, and really have to work to release tension in their bodies and minds.
But for the majority of people, the hardest part is staying mindfully focused while all this relaxation is happening. The mind wanders easily. It’s a simple fact.
Savasana itself is a yoga practice.
It’s a good thing yoga is a practice, not something you’re expected to do perfectly right off the bat (or 10 years into it for that matter.) In fact, you’re perfect just as you are, so don’t worry about it. Just keep doing your very best every time and you will continue to improve.
One thing you should keep in mind about savasana is it isn’t collapse. There’s a difference between relaxing and collapsing. Relaxing is mindful; there is an inner fullness which the outer body, muscles, bones, organs, etc, are held by as they soften. Collapse is not supported, and does not allow the circulation of blood, lymph, prana, and breath that is so healing to be optimal.
When you do savasana, start by aligning your body as best you can. Then feel the brightness within – feel how full of life you are! Allow that inner fullness to keep you buoyant from within, then drape your outer body over it. Let your skin drape, your bones be heavy, your organs rest. Settle into your back body.
And then, in this relaxed yet illuminated state, breathe.
Feel your breath enter and leave. Notice how your body pulses with the breath and how that feels. Notice if by focusing on your breath, parts of your body that hold tension relax further.
Anytime your mind wanders, gently and lovingly bring it back to the breath. The practice of savasana brings you the most benefits when you are present in the moment.
What are the benefits of savasana?
There are many. Here are just a few:
- It is one of the best possible ways to de-stress and reduce anxiety.
- Blood and other vital fluids and nutrients are distributed evenly throughout the body.
- It allows the body time to recover and assimilate the myriad benefits of your yoga practice.
- It calms the brain and body, and helps to lower blood pressure.
- It can help reduce headaches, insomnia and fatigue as well.
There’s more, but aren’t those reasons enough?
Do savasana at the end of every yoga practice. Though seated meditation is sometimes an appropriate alternative, in my experience savasana is what the body, mind, and spirit crave after a yoga practice. It is very important to be still, mindful, relax and breathe as a transition between your asana practice and the rest of your day. Don’t skip it.
Savasana can also be done on its own, though even one or two sun salutations or a short practice can help to get your circulation flowing, increasing the benefits of your relaxation.
- Do you have any questions about savasana? Comment below and ask away.