I was THAT student. The one who purposely put my mat in the back of the class so that when the ‘boring’ part of yoga class came-meaning the relaxation Savasana- I could hightail it out of there. I was so focused on the muscle strengthening and looked at yoga as simply another avenue to achieving the physique I wanted. Little did I know, I was cheating myself of a beautiful, physically and spiritually beneficial aspect of the practice. Perhaps even the most important part of the practice.
The problem for most yogis is that relaxation doesn’t come easy. Most of us are over stressed and under rested and are unable to slow down for even a few moments. But by surrendering to Savasana it can become something we look forward to after every yoga class and will keep us coming back to the mat week after week.
How will Savasana change your body?
- Savasana is not nap time for grownups-sorry:). During Savasana you should be deeply relaxed but still aware. By still being aware you are able to bring that awareness inside and release tensions you weren’t even conscious of before Savasana. Savasana is a time to relax each individual muscle, the diaphragm, and the mind. By practicing asanas before Savasana it allows our body to be stretched, open and relaxed allowing a deeper tension release during Savasana.
- By bringing the body into a deep relaxation you lower the release of stress hormones, particularly cortisol. Excess cortisol contributes to weight gain, adrenal fatigue and even weakens your immune system. Lower cortisol levels are a good thing and a side effect of Savasana.
- After a strong asana practice, a relaxation period allows your bodily functions and systems (like your immune and digestive system) to become stimulated and revitalized. Your body needs that time to process and remember the information and intelligence—yes, intelligence—it’s gained through each and every pose you worked on. Savasana is the time you cement the benefits of every chatarunga and warrior pose into your cells and muscles.
Savasana is now one of my most sacred times during my yoga practice. I often feel emotions so strong during this practice that I find tears coming to my eyes and a feeling of warmth, joy, and light filling my body and mind. There is a connection with who I really am at the very core and a connection to God that I feel when in this state of relaxation that makes my emotions feel so raw and close to the surface.
Somehow, when I am complete with Savasana the problems and struggles I brought with me to the mat are smaller, more manageable and I feel up to the task of my life again. Life is so hard sometimes, and I often feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities and pressures. Savasana brings me back to myself and helps me to know that all I really need to do in life is…nothing. Just Be.