Savasana translates to corpse pose. It is the final pose of a yoga practice. In savasana the body is still, the breath flows naturally, and if you’re lucky the mind becomes quiet and there is this essence of dropping into one’s self.
Savasana can be the most challenging part of a class. We are invited to just be, cultivating effortlessness and non-doing. This can be tough for many of us, living in this multi-tasked, fast-paced lifestyle that has become the standard of normalcy in our country. Our minds and our bodies are not used to being quiet.
The good news is that we are already making an effort to create some sort of connection, just by walking through the doors of the studio and showing up to class.
On the other hand, many of us feel like we don’t have time to do nothing for ten minutes, we just have too much to do. Coming from a self-titled savasana addict, here are some reasons to stay for savasana.
Savasana is a crucial part of the practice. It allows for the assimilation and integration of the “work” done throughout the practice.
Imagine your body is a garden. Your asana coupled with mindful breathing is the planting of the seeds in your garden. These seeds are powerful and potent. They are the seeds of transformation. They allow us to shift and transform our own energy, freeing ourselves from illusion, learned tendencies, and obstacles that may be hindering our personal growth.
Savasana is comparable to watering the seeds and giving them sunlight. Savasana nourishes these precious seeds of transformation so that they take root and begin to grow and transform in your body on a cellular level.
Not a gardener? Try this, your practice is equal to sitting at the computer and doing work, writing, emailing, designing, and/or researching, whatever your work is. Savasana is comparable to saving your data. You would never spend an hour doing work on the computer, then not save it, am I right?
Savasana triggers the para-sympathetic nervous system, our rest and restore responses. Our heart rate slows and the breath becomes smooth and steady. We are creating space for healing and deep relaxation from within. The result of this is that we are better equipped to navigate through life off of the mat. By allowing space for healing and rest with in ourselves, we are able to take care of our responsibilities off the mat from our overflow, not depleting ourselves energetically. It takes about seven minutes to really settle in. If you can, I suggest a good ten minutes at least, for an hour and fifteen minute practice.
Yogas chitta vritti nirodha, yoga is the stilling of the mind. The physical practice of asana is meant to be a pre-cursor, a “warm-up” if you will, to prepare yourself for seated meditation.
We may get glimpses of this stilling through out our asana practice, small spaces between action, where the mind is calm, the body supported, and the breath steady. However, we are consciously focused on breath and body. There is still a sense of “doing”.
Savasana is an invitation to let go of all trying and doing; to be completely open to doing nothing. We are invited to unplug from the busy monkey mind, and in turn, plug into the deep well of peace, support, and knowing that is essentially our true nature.
When this connection occurs, there is a sense of clarity and contentment.
For many of us, savasana may be the first time in our lives where we feel at peace, like we are welcoming ourselves back home. This feeling, this connection, is often what sparks an interest in developing a deeper spiritual practice. This starts with meditation, which leads to the stilling of the mind. The more you meditate the easier it is to connect to that stillness when life gets crazy. It’s kind of like muscle memory, but for the soul, you tap in and connect to source, to stillness, again and again, and over time that current of support and ease is more readily available. This allows us to act from a place that resonates with our deepest longings and is in tune with our essential nature. Life becomes enjoyable, not just manageable.
Savasana is truly a gift to give your self. Every one deserves ten minutes a day to be still and connect to peace. Every person I know could use a bit more not doing and just being in their life, (myself included). The next time savasana rolls around, grab a bolster, an eye pillow, some blankets and get comfy. Your nervous system needs it, and you deserve it. You may find that your perspective of savasana moves from “I don’t wannasana” to “so-awe-some-nah”.
If you would like to hear more from Kim, come check out her classes at Urban, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 9am, where we always have a long savasana, or visit her Facebook page, Paleoyogamom.