When you think of a challenging yoga posture, you'd probably come up with some kind of inversion (head + hand stands come to mind) or a difficult balancing pose. Many people would never consider a pose where you literally just lie there as being difficult.
At the very beginning, I also remember hating savasana. Lying there, doing nothing drove me nuts time and time again. All I could focus on was getting out of there, going to the grocery store, making dinner, etc etc etc. A quiet mind is more difficult than most asanas, and many yoga experts call savasana the most challenging yoga pose. That's right - a pose where you're supposed to do nothing is the most difficult.
I kept hearing about the benefits. Letting the physical body and the nervous system relax and have time to integrate all of the hard work. It took a little bit of time, but eventually, I started learning (through practice!) how to drop in and absorb everything savasana has to offer. Resting in savasana has taught me patience with myself and allowed me to experiment with meditation at it's most basic level. I now cherish my time in savasana and it's usually shorter than I'd like it to be. I soak up the moments when my savasana can linger - the benefits are noticeable.
Savasana (corpse/final resting pose) is typically the last pose in a series of physical postures in your yoga practice. This pose is beautifully therapeutic if you allow it to be.
Most yoga teachers will tell you, the longer you can stay in savasana, the better off you are. If you're practicing at home, here are some tips to get the most out of your savasana:
- Aim to give yourself 5-10 minutes in the pose (longer if you have time)
- In order to completely relax and let go, it can be helpful to run through a head-to-toe checklist of body parts and visualize each one of them letting go and dropping into the floor. I start with my toes, go up through my feet, ankles, calves, knees..up through the top of the head.
- Let the breath be easy, light, and natural. Choose a physical sensation to focus on. This can be the sensation of your breath moving in and out the nose, the back of your head resting on the ground beneath you, or noticing the rise + fall of your chest.
- Come out of savasana when you feel ready. Start by gently moving fingers and toes and moving toward a full body stretch.
- Roll over to your right side and rest for a few moments.
- Gently rise up and rest in a cross-legged position with your eyes closed.
- Take 3-5 deep breaths through your nose.
- Find gratitude for your practice!
Struggling with a racing mind? The nostrils trick mentioned above is my go-to focus point during savasana when my body wants it but my brain has other plans. Keep focused on that sensation at the tip of your nose. If your mind wanders, that's okay (it might happen 10+ times during your brief savasana!) - just keep bringing it back!
If lying flat on the floor hurts your back, you can roll up a blanket to place beneath your knees. This should take the pressure out of your lower back.