Just at the end of our physical yoga practice I would brace myself for the familiar rip of the mat off the floor. It was the rather noisy exit of one student who would never stay for the final savasana. Savasana or corpse pose is done at the end of all our classes and is a rest and relaxation period. Some students just don’t see the benefit, or the ‘don’t have the time’ or they are too frightened to spend a few minutes with themselves. I joke that the only reason I do yoga now is for the savasana. The more intense or concentrated my practice is the more intense my savasana is.
Some students seem to take to it well almost unable to exit it at the end, some students seem to struggle. They itch and move, they keep their eyes open or they don’t stay. Depriving yourself of this rest is depriving yourself of the benefits of the practice.
Here are some of the benefits from practicing corpse pose;
- The pose activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for bringing on the relaxation response. This decreases blood pressure and the rate of respiration which enhances relaxation more. It floods the body with the good chemicals. You will feel your muscles relax
- Once your body is relaxed like this healing of tissues and cells takes place.
- Resting can reduce anxiety and help you sleep better. A rest can also improve your energy levels and reduce fatigue
- The pose gives you a chance to enter into your inside world a little. You become more aware of your breathing and the workings of your body but you can also experience some feelings that may have been stored deeper into your body such as fear, upset, grief. Savasana can bring these feelings out of storage.
- When you take the time out to relax like this you can really feel a deep sense of peace with yourself.
- Resting pose cultivates the habit of attention, you can find out what parts of your body or mind are unable to rest.
- It resets us so we can begin again where ever we feel we have messed up. You can feel more confident and able to face the world after savasana.
- As a teacher and student my favourite part is when students have just exited savasana. You can feel more love and more loved. You can feel more of a connection with yourself and those around you. You exit the pose with a sense of spaciousness and this in turn helps you to make clear choices about your life.
Practice for today. There are lots of instructions about savasana you can do it wherever you want it doesn’t have to be after a yoga class. Try it today. Set yourself up comfortably and try it for 5 minutes. If it helps put on some calming music and use an eyebag. Note how you feel when you exit. Can you make space in each day for yourself?
Side note: I finally got the guts to ask the mat ripper if they would like to stay just once for savasana. They did and have ever since.