What (the hell) to do in Savasana?

Imagine you just made it through a sweaty 90 minutes yoga class full of chaturangas, twists, inversions, backbends and core work… When the teacher finally announces: “Make your way into savasana.” Uff. Sounds like heaven, right?

Not always.

I used to HATE savasana. I remember lying in Savasana during my first yoga classes and I was thinking: “Wow, this is so boring.” Or: “Okay, we could have done five more minutes of headstand practice instead.” When I practiced yoga at home, I would usually skip savasana. I mean, I have stuff to get done, right? And the train will not wait for me either. 

Savasana: The hardest pose of all

Savasana means corpse pose. It is usually practiced at the end of a yoga sequence and is known as the final relaxation pose. To do savasana, you lie on your back with your legs straight and arms at each side of your body. The eyes are closed, the palms are facing up and the feet fall to a natural position. And that’s basically it. So, if you ever wondered what to do when you literally lie there like a dead person, here’s the answer: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zero. Nada. You simply lie there, relax and let go of all the tension in your body. 

Sounds easy? For people with a super wild mind or high performer who always want to give their best, savasana can actually be hell on earth. Where are my vata and pitta friends? You know what I am talking about!

The truth is: We all need a good Savasana.

Especially when we feel the need to get out of the pose after two or three minutes or to jump under the shower right away.

Accept and surrender

Usually, we are super busy when we do yoga, right? “Engage your bandhas, keep your Ujjayi breath, find your drishti”… There is so much to think about!

The part of not doing anything is what makes it so hard. Savasana is all about the balance between rest and movement. Where there is movement, there must be stillness too. Means: You moved your body for the last hour or even more, treat yourself with a well deserved rest that your body needs right now. 

The hard part is to actually allow yourself to do so. To surrender. To accept that it is okay to take a break after putting our bodys through a sweaty ashtanga or vinyasa practice. 

The beauty of savasana is that you can let everything go. You really do not need to do anything, prove to anyone or think about anything. It doesn’t matter whether you just nailed three minutes of forearm stand or whether this was our worst practice ever.

For me, seeing my students work hard in a class and then finally lie down in savasana and relax is the most special part of a class. It’s incredibly peaceful and deeply nourishing to see how all the stress and pressure from the day or the class falls off their shoulders.

ENJOY THE FEELING OF LETTING GO

I would like to encourage you to stay a little bit longer in savasana the next time and see what difference it makes. 

Some tips to keep your savasa a bit longer:

  • Resist the urge to move your body. Your upper arm feels a bit itchy? It’s okay. The sensation will go away.
  • Keep your eyes closed – even though it is tempting to take a look around or to count the lighting bulbs on the ceiling. 
  • When your mind goes wild, gently bring your attention to your own breath or the feeling in your body. Where in your body does your breath manifest? How do you feel different now from when you stepped on your mat? Observe.
  • Have faith that your yoga teacher will not leave you there for the rest of the day. Five minutes of Savasana can feel like an eternity (or two), but your teacher will not forget you there.
  • If you practice by yourself, schedule in time for savasana and set a timer for five to seven minutes. Make sure you choose a soft alarm sound.
  • Or plug in your AirPods and listen to a song during your savasana. This is a beautiful way to relax and also to keep your mind off the busy world around you. And you only have to make it through one song! Two of my all time favorite savasana songs are “Faith’s Hymn” by Beautiful Chorus and “The Southern Sea” by Garth Stevenson (you can find both of them on Spotify).

Sounds super hard? It is. But it will get easier with time. In the end, savasana – just like any other asana in yoga – is a pose that we need to practice.