Savasana is the Sanskrit name for a yoga posture known as the relaxation pose or corpse pose. You most likely have performed it at the end of a yoga session, where you lie back, close your eyes, relax your breath, and clear your mind.
Although Savasana seems quite inactive, it's actually very beneficial. Here's just a few reasons why you should be lying in corpse pose daily:
Calms the nervous system
Helps to integrate healing
Relaxes the body and mind
Opens energy channels so energy can flow freely
Grounds your energy
Improves memory, focus and concentration
Relieves stress and anxiety
Improves sleep and relaxation
Lowers blood pressure
An Active Pose
Savasana is not the same thing as nap time. In fact, Savasana is supposed to be performed fully conscious and awake, like meditation. The practitioner should stay relaxed yet present the entire time. Just like any healing modality, we want to approach Savasana with an intention and mindfulness.
To perform Savasana you want to lie on your back on a firm, hard surface, such as the ground. Traditionally, Savasana is performed with the legs straight down on the ground. However, if you have lower back pain or find this uncomfortable, then you can bend your knees or place a bolster under your legs. The hands should rest comfortably, down at your side, with the palms facing up.
Your eyes should remain closed and your breath effortless. It helps to think of yourself as melting or softening into the ground beneath you. When performing Savasana every part of you is completely relaxed and fully surrendered.
You will receive the most benefits out of Savasana the longer you can stay in it. Ideally, it should be performed for a minimum of ten minutes. Most teachers will simply let you rest for five minutes or less, but this is not helpful. Anything under ten minutes is simply not enough time to allow the pose to reset and rebalance your body's systems.
When we perform this conscious relaxation pose, we're giving our body and mind time to integrate the healing benefits of whatever activity it is we just performed. Whether you just hit the yoga mat, did a sweaty workout, or had a Reiki session, you need to give your body time to relieve the stress that it just endured.
If you're performing Savasana after a yoga practice, you're allowing your body to temporarily bathe in the benefits from the entire yoga practice and all the previous yoga postures you just performed. You're also giving yourself time to transition from one activity to the next, which is important because it helps you to stay more present and mindful throughout the day.
When I first started yoga many years ago, I'd often be "too busy" to give myself a proper Savasana after class. In fact, there were many times where I thought I had more important things to do, and so I'd rush out the door to get to the next thing on my to-do list as quickly as possible.
I'd walk in the door to my home and immediately start feeling overwhelmed or extreme anxiety. I'd often snap at my loved ones with impatience or feel like I was on the verge of tears for no good reason. It was as if I had this explosive energy inside of me that had nowhere to release. And I really didn't understand why I'd feel like this after yoga. Especially since yoga was supposed to be relaxing.
But then I discovered why Savasana is a non-negotiable yoga posture. It gives us the necessary integration period we need to balance, reset, and ground our energy. And it's not just after yoga when we should perform Savasana. In fact, I've always held a strong belief that Savasana should be performed after every healing session, meditation, workout, etc. It can be performed anytime throughout your day or whenever you're working with big emotions or huge waves of energy. It can help you to transition from one activity to the next without experiencing that "explosive emotional purge" that I used to experience.
After I perform energy work on my clients, I always make them lie flat or sit in stillness for several minutes before bringing them back. And I encourage them to go home and rest more if they're able to. This gives the body and mind time to "catch up" to the quick movement of energy and higher frequencies that were moving through the body. Savasana after energy work allows the client to feel more grounded and integrated with the higher frequencies that are now moving through them.
What I've also learned is that Savanna is basically like charging your cell phone on a charging mat. When you're feeling depleted or in need of a boost of energy, getting your body flat on the ground and putting it in rest mode for a few minutes can help to reenergize you and balance your energy.
When you feel like you’re running on empty, simply allowing yourself to rest in Savasana for ten minutes can completely transform you. Most days, Savasana is much more effective than a power nap. Whereas naps can leave me feeling groggy or sluggish, Savasana leaves me feeling revitalized and refreshed.
Never Skip Savasana
Savasana is an important form of self-care. It is a crucial reminder to give yourself permission to rest and reset. That's why I recommend that you should perform at least 10-20 minutes of Savasana daily, even if you don't practice yoga. For example, you can add it to the end of your workouts or meditation sessions, or squeeze it in right before going to bed.
Like meditation, Savasana creates an inner feeling of surrender and letting go. It teaches us to slow down and be more mindful. It gives our mind a chance to de-stress and simply focus on the breath. In our chaotic and overstimulated world, Savasana gives us a temporary break from all the noise and distractions.
I had a yoga teacher once say the yoga is about "shifting your shape, in order to shift your state." What he meant is that by putting the body in certain yoga poses for an extended period, you will eventually experience major shifts in your mental and emotional states. Savasana is one of those shapes that shifts your mental state to feel calmer and more relaxed for longer periods throughout your day.