Ahhh, Savasana

“If student does not get up from savasana,” says Pattabhi Jois, “or lifting student up (and he/she) is like a stiff board, savasana is correct.”

As I sit in silence and watch how still my students are, I can often tell how deep they have fallen into savasana by the response to the tap of the singing bowl with its padded mallet.  This lets me know that the work they did is well deserved of a peaceful savasana (pronounced sha-vahs-ana), corpse pose.

For those of you unfamiliar to the yoga world, this is typically the final pose of any class.  It looks just like it sounds.  While on your back, find a way to balance the right and left side of the body.  By extending the legs out and arms down along your sides.  Maybe covering the body with a blanket as the body temperature will drop.  Close the eyes as they fall softly into their sockets.

During this time, we allow the body to just be.  While in savasana it feels like we are in a space between effort and sleep.  The breath will have a natural rhythm as the chest rises with every inhale and will fall with every exhale.  Any sort of stress or tension the body is still holding onto may be released through a twitch of energy leaving the body or tears running down our cheeks.  These are normal responses the body has when we have finally surrendered to ourselves and our practice.

As we live in a high-strung society and some students feel the last few moments of class are unnecessary, I strongly encourage you to stay for the entire duration of class, including savasana.

Some of the great benefits to savasana are:

  • can improve concentration and focusing power
  • gives new energy and establishes harmony between body and mind
  • instills calmness and relaxation to those holding to stress and tension
  • helps relieve depression
  • reduces headache/fatigue

Even though you may not have endured a 90 minute power yoga class, we all have the ability to play dead.  Take a few moments out of your day to allow for a short savasana and see how powerful this great pose can be.

be well-

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  1. #1 by Georgeane on July 22, 2011 - 7:00 am

    Very true. If a student has to leave before savasana, I usually ask him/her to try and find a few minutes at some point during their day to find their own savasana. It can be done on the train into work, for instance!

  2. #2 by Julie on July 22, 2011 - 9:20 am

    YES! I’ve also heard it described as a way to ‘digest’ the work your body has just done:)

  3. #3 by annbruck on July 22, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Georgeanne, that is so true. It can be done anywhere.
    Julie- I used that phrase, “digest” this morning. What a great way to explain what savasana does.

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