Savasana: The yoga pose you need most
Savasana (shah-VAH-sah-nah or shih-VAH-snah) is the most beloved pose in yoga and I truly believe it's the most important.
Savasana may have been the first Sanskrit word you learned through your yoga class - luckily, many teachers tend to stick with the Sanskrit name rather than use the English term 'corpse pose' so ...it's quite likely you have heard it before. (It's always nice attending a yoga class that honours the history and tradition behind the practice - using the correct terminology is one great way to do that.)
At the end of a challenging yoga class, coming into savasana is a beautiful time to fall into your body and come into a state of relaxation. The word translates in English to corpse - it's fitting, because you are quite literally lying there flat on your back...completely still (like a corpse!).
Savasana can be a meditative practice, and it gives your body time to rest. Settling into the mat at the end of a class can be a challenge, but it is incredibly important.
Savasana is intended to bring about stillness in the mind and body. In today's world we are far too busy, running from one task to the next, checking our phones, reading e-mails. We need to find time to quiet our minds. Our mental and physical health depends on it.
Complete stillness in mind and body is the goal of savasana. Though it requires no physical effort, it can be extremely challenging to settle your mind and slow your thoughts.
In savasana, our musculo-skeletal and nervous systems slowly settle into the practice we completed. Our mind quickly becomes crystal clear, calm, and the period of rest and relaxation will improve your immune system while simultaneously improving your mental health.
While lying in savasana, you may find it nearly impossible not to think. That is completely okay, and most importantly, normal! Our brains want to think and we don't need to fight the urge. Honour the thought, breathe, and move on. Keep doing this time and time again and you will notice the pace of your thoughts slows down over time. Become present in your body, notice your breathe, your body, how you feel in the room. Just...settle in.
Savasana provides the chance to step back and just notice what we’re thinking and feeling without clinging to those thoughts and feelings or distracting ourselves . How often do we allow time to be alone with our thoughts, or to be fully present in our bodies?
Don't skip savasana!
For those who go to yoga for a more physical practice, and are always running a tight schedule, it can be so tempting to skip out on savasana. But if you are such a busy person that 10 minutes seems like a long time where you could be doing something productive - you are probably the one who needs it most. More importantly, you deserve those 10 minutes!
The physical and mental benefits of savasana are incredible, and it's a beautiful time to let go of judgement, release emotion, or simply breathe. Your mental health needs this time. Be kind to yourself and take the time you need after a beautiful practice.
As a yoga teacher, I encourage all my students to take as much time as they need savasana. I never limit it to 5-10 minutes. Some classes I schedule in a longer savasana of around 15-20 minutes... students always walk out saying 'wow! I feel amazing, thank you!' This is how I know it's worth it.
WHATEVER YOU DO... stay for savasana.