Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is the final pose in every yoga asana practice, no matter the style. I believe it to be the most important pose in the entire yoga practice and many times we don't give it the attention it deserves. Maybe you don't understand the value of Savasana, maybe you are just in yoga class for the workout. Sometimes life gets in the way of your yoga class and you might need to duck out early, leaving before Savasana happens. Here is why I recommend taking Savasana to complete every yoga practice, even if you need to leave before the rest of the class has finished:
Integration. Savasana is when the body integrates the practice you have just been through on a cellular level. You absorb the wisdom of your practice physically, mentally and spiritually whether you are conscious of it or not. It is not something you need to actively work on. Simply by resting and lying still it happens on its own; you just need to be open to it.
Stillness. When in your day are you completely still? Probably never unless you are sleeping, and even then, maybe not so much. That break from movement, your physical stillness, helps calm the mind and create relative stillness there as well. The mind doesn't go completely still, but if the body is still, there is a better chance for the mind to stop racing around like a monkey in a cage (monkey mind). It can then settle down into a calmer, less reactive state. When we let go of reaction, you can cultivate choice and power over your decisions.
Internal Wisdom. When we are still and quiet, the Wisdom that already exists within us can reveal itself. It might be the answer to a question you've been struggling with, the solution to a problem in your life or even an answer to a question you didn't know you were asking. We all possess great wisdom, but often there is so much noise in our head that we can't hear it. Savasana is a great time to listen and let your Wisdom bubble up to the surface.
Presence. Bringing your mind into the Present creates internal peace. When your mind is in the Past, mulling over events that have already happened, that is where you find depression, shame and regret. When your mind is in the Future, thinking about things that have yet to happen, that is where fear and anxiety live. We have no control over the Past or the Future: the Past has already happened and the Future may or may not ever happen, no matter how much we worry about it. We only have control in the Present and it is in the Present where we find Peace and Contentment.
Savasana is simultaneously simple and challenging: simple physically (you just lie there) but challenging mentally. Quieting the mind is something that is achieved over time, that ability to drop into a peaceful state is like a muscle that needs to be built up. Savasana teaches us to be in a place where we are not constantly criticizing ourselves, getting caught up in the drama of our thoughts, trying to fix or change that which really doesn't need to be fixed or changed. Savasana is about finding acceptance in the moment, of ourselves and of others, finding that place of kindness, compassion and joy. Do yourself the favor of taking Savasana at the end of every yoga practice, whether you take a class or practice on your own. You're worth it.
Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she discovered Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.
In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios, Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.