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Too Busy for Savasana? Why We All Need to Play Dead

in In Class, YD News

savasanaWe see dead people…walking out of yoga class before savasana! Otherwise known as corpse pose, savasana is, suitably, the final pose of a yoga practice. And for good reason! But some folks just don’t know how to take things lying down.. or uh, dying, essentially.

Yesterday fitsugar.com had a “you asked” question up from a writer-in Sarah who wondered why her yoga teacher finally gave her a hard time for consistently rolling up her mat early “since the last 10 minutes we just lie on the floor.”  Borrrring. Sarah, we hear you girl, who has time for lazing away on your back when there’s so much get-up-and-go move it or lose it action! We’re from NYC, we get it! But as yogadorks, and friends really, we find it is our duty to tell you … SLOW it DOWN sister!

You spend all that time in class, and do all that hard work just to skip out on the most rejuvenating, and some teachers say, THE most important part of the practice? This is why we say playing dead can be the hardest pose of all! Whether it’s power hour or easy does it restorative there’s always time for savasana. It’s the yin to the yang see?

“If student does not get up from savasana,” says Pattabhi Jois, “or lifting student up (and he/she) is like a stiff board, savasana is correct.”

Most classes don’t leave you in savasana nearly long enough – 5 minutes should be absolute minimum. Still any little bit counts, and here’s why:

Benefits of Savasana from MyYogaOnline.com

* relaxes central nervous system/calms mind
* helps relieve stress
* relaxes body
* decreases beta brain waves and shifts to slower brain waves
* reduces insomnia/improves sleep
* reduces headache and fatigue
* helps relieve depression

Besides the personal mind/body benefits, respect your fellow corpses and stick around. Nothing is more jarring and obnoxious than the disturbing end of class shuffle in the middle of quiet time. Oh and for the love of pete please shut off your cellphones.

Read more about savasana from yoga teacher and psychotherapist, Michael Stone, on iyengar-yoga.com.

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20 comments… add one

  • I can’t even imagine leaving class before savasana. That’s the absolute best part! And anyone who thinks it’s a waste of time probably isn’t a true yogi and sadly is reaping a very small portion of the benefits yoga can offer.

  • I completely agree Andrea. Savasana is so important! I can’t do Bikram yoga anymore because I don’t like how the instructors don’t emphasize the important of the final savasana.

  • As a kids’ instructor, I’ll have you all know that even children ask for savasana and want it longer than we have time for. It’s amazing to see all those little energetic bodies sprawled out across a studio floor or in their classroom, completely letting go of the world around them. We lead a lot of visualizations to assist, but once they are relaxed, I let them stay that way for another minute or two, at least.

    I totally agree that Savasana is the “reward” for a great practice. I cannot imagine skipping out on it.

    Maya’s Bikram comment is interesting, because although I’ve never taken a Bikram class, I have a friend whose only experience with yoga was in Bikram, and she tells me she did it purely for “exercise” and it had no meditative effect on her whatsoever. Not to knock Bikram without trying it, but if that is true, I hardly think it can really be classified as yoga.

  • Darrick

    actually in bikram yoga we have a savasana after each floor posture. There are atleast 20, with a final long savasana at the end. People who dont stay for the final savasana arent working hard enough in class! If you cant find meditation in a bikram yoga class its cause your not focusing hard enough. Just because its yoga, doesnt mean its cant be intense or physically challenging.

  • I have a friend who tells me she has a woman in her class who insists on still doing her own yoga during savasana, and then maybe does savasana for a minute or two. The woman has been told she is disturbing people but she still does it.

  • p.s. and in the style I study in India a short savasana, maybe 2 minutes, is done after each sequence.

  • It’s probably savasana that first got me interested in the other aspects of Yoga. (I started the classes just to improve my flexibility for tennis.)

    Here’s where I think the teacher must exercise command of the class. He or she should simple not allow anyone to skip savasana. I’m not the dictatorial type, but there have to be some rules, even in a Yoga class!

    Luckily, I had a teacher like that in my early vinyassa classes. Otherwise I might have had a tendency to leave early, too.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  • Gotta admit, I find savasana incredibly difficult when practicing at home. Maybe I should dig out that 90′s classic “Pretend That We’re Dead” by L7 to use as end-of-yoga-practice music…

  • Funnily enough I find savasana easier at home.I practice at an ashtanga shala that is very true to Mysore, i.e. a small space for finishing sequence, where it seems that lots of people take only a short savasana.So I am sometimes conscious of taking up the space for too long & I try to relax but struggle to let go, so I often give up when I can’t. But at home I can really drift off – weirdly, especially when my practice has been less than focussed. But what I really really love is a guided savasana in a class situation. Now that I would never bale out on….

  • I can empathize with the Cynics.

    My problem is that I practice in a community center to be “alone”: I have no qualms setting up shop and doing asanas for two hours, but I can’t do savasana with the thought that a stranger could venture upstairs and see me lying on the floor, eyes closed. Too hard to relax. Savasana must be done in a class (where others are on the same page) OR alone. Period.

  • Savasana is the buttercream icing on the dark chocolate cake that is yoga to me.

  • didi

    yes! yum! totally agree

  • I have a hard getting my palms to face up. Kind of sideways-ish is the best I can do. Sometimes I revel in my naïveté.

  • Needed post. Thank you, YogaDorks. Culturally, we are some uptight mofos. Just sayin’…

  • I agree with Derrick. The instructors at my Bikram studio always stress savasana at the end of our practice. And trust me, by the end of that class I need it.

  • At the end of my practice at home, I’ll lay in savasana for goodness knows how long! I loosely keep track of the time while I’m stretching/meditating, but I’d say I sit in savasana around 10-15 minutes at least.. and I get up feeling COMPLETELY stress free. :)

  • Dilip

    I am from India. I learnt yoga in bits and pieces say from my father and here and there . What I find is that nobody is stressing on savasana – it should be done finally as though it is another asana . As it is put aptly savasana it is the icing on the cake . It should not be done for 2 minutes but at least for ten minutes in the end.

  • Ginevra de Benci

    I love savasana. It is the perfect transition before returning to the rest of my life. I actually find it interferes with the energy in the room if people leave. I maybe hypersensitive but I feel leaving before class is over is disruptive and some how disrespectful

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