by Katie Papo (Ambika)
Crunches and leg lifts were my go-to boredom fighter while everyone else laid in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of yoga class. I first started practicing yoga for the workout, so the last thing I wanted was to imitate a dead person.
My yoga teacher later told me I had two options: participate in savasana like a good yogi, or leave the room before it began. An ab workout was no longer one of my options. So for the next two weeks, I rolled up my mat and left.
A week later she pulled me aside and said, “The postures that we dislike the most are the ones that are the most important for us to learn.”
I realized I couldn’t stand savasana because I had no clue how to relax. I would lay there a powerless victim to the millions of thoughts in my monkey mind. But I later realized that I was in good company, and many people struggle with this seemingly effortless posture, especially in the beginning. The yogic solution? Practice, practice, practice.
How to Practice Savasana
- Lay down on your back with your feet mat distance apart.
- Rest your arms at a 45 degree angle away from the body, shoulders relaxed, palms up.
- Close your eyes, keep the head steady between the shoulders.
- Take long, slow, deep breaths.
- Progressively relax all the parts of the body, gradually scanning from toes to head.
Even if the mind won’t cooperate, the body still receives the deeply beneficial effects of savasana, so the practice is well worth the effort. Whether it’s on your own, in a yoga class, or by listening to a guided voice recording, you’ll quickly begin to notice savasana’s many benefits:
- Stress Relief Improved concentration and memory
- Decreased heart rate
- Lowered blood pressure
- Mood booster
- Insomnia and fatigue relief
- Experience of peace, release, and calmness
Start by practicing for a few minutes, and make your way up to 10-20 minutes of practice per day. Just as Swami Sivananda said, “An ounce of practice is better than a ton of theory.”