It’s coming to the end of your yoga class and your teacher calls out ‘Savasana’! Some of us think, finally it’s time for relaxation! Other’s retract into the anxiety of having to lie still with our thoughts until told otherwise. Here are a few pointers and frequently asked questions to help you in the most important parts of your yoga practice!
What is it? Savasana is essentially laying totally flat on the back with the palms facing up and for this reason is sometimes known as corpse pose!
But let’s start with WHY we do it at the end of every practice. After a yoga session, the physical, emotional and energetic body will have been accessed, altered or opened. Depending on the style of yoga you are practicing this might be through building strength, release, breathwork or flexibility. Your savasana is the moment that all of the information gathered from your practice finds their final union. This is the essence of yoga. So savasana is the key to processing, integrating and assimilating the wonderful benefits of yoga into mind, body and soul.
Let’s talk about benefits
When it comes to benefits, they are numerous and here are some of the reasons you shouldn’t miss out this part of your practice, as tempting as it may be.
- Shift away from the sympathetic nervous system
(responsible for fight, flight, freeze stress responses)
- Shifts to the parasympathetic nervous system
(responsible for resting, healing & digesting)
- Calms the mind and relieves anxiety, stress & depression
- Reduces headaches, fatigue & insomnia
- Enhances and restores immune responses
- Crucial reset for the body’s physiology
- Helps to lower blood pressure
Q: It’s uncomfortable lying on my back for so long which means I can’t relax
A: Try resting with the feet planted in the ground and the knees bent so the lower back is resting on the ground. Alternatively, if you have a bolster, cushion or rolled up blanket you can place underneath your knees, this can help to relieve tension and find rest in the pose.
Q: I can’t stop thinking and I don’t like being still
A: Finding stillness is one of the most beautiful things we can offer our minds and bodies in the busy world because it allows the essential rest and reset to occur. Savasana is an opportunity to train this into the body.
Here are some ways to focus your mind and still your thoughts:
– watch the in-flow and out-flow of the breath
– focus on the sensations of temperature of the breath
– watch the belly rise and the belly fall
– deeply listen to the sounds nearby and far away
– focus on the parts of the body touching the ground
Q: How long should I do my savasana for?
A: The recommended amount of time is around 5-10 minutes for every 30-60 minutes of yoga. This may seem like a lot but it does take sweet time for the body’s response to the practice to integrate fully.
Q: What are some good cues to remember in Savasana?
A: Allow the body to be heavy and try scanning through the body using these pointers. Some teachers may walk you through this during savasana.
– relax the feet to the sides
– soften the muscles in the legs
– relax tension held in the glutes and the hips
– Release the stomach
– Allow the back to rest into the ground
– Let the fingers curl
– Melt the shoulders away from the ears
– Relax the jaw and place the tongue on the roof of the mouth
– Soften the cheeks and the muscles around the eyes
– Let the eyeballs roll into the back of the head
– Relax the eyebrows, forehead & scalp
Q: Why do some teachers adjust me in savasana?
A: There is no wrong way to do savasana and there is no obligation to receive adjustments. Just let the teacher know your preference before the class. The reason why the teacher may give some adjustments is to help or encourage the body to find release and relaxation in areas which tend to hold stress.
Some places where you might receive or apply savasana adjustments:
– Pressing into the shoulders away from the ears
– Raising and gently rotating the arms
– Raising and gently rotating the legs
– Lifting the head and gently moving it from side to side
– Massaging the jaw, temples, scalp
– Lightly placing the thumbs between the brows
Q: How do I come out of savasana?
A: It is recommended to bring your attention back into your body and roll over onto one side, preferably the right as this is the activating side of the body. Come into a fetal position, allowing the head to rest on the arm of in the palm of the hand and take a final few moments of grounding from your practice before pressing your hand into the earth to come gently up into a seated position. This is the perfect time to take a seat of meditation.
I hope these are helpful, that you feel motivated to rest in your savasana and reward yourself with its wonderful benefits! If you have any more questions, feel free to comment below!