Why You Should NEVER Bail Out During Savasana
Allow me to start this message by saying: me, too.
I also didn’t get it — and certainly didn’t like it — when we had to spend the final few minutes of yoga class lying in silent stillness. I was sweaty, I needed to adjust my clothes and the hair stuck to the back of my neck, and my entire spinal column ached after plough pose. This isn’t healthy, I thought, this can’t be right.
I submitted to Savasana, eventually, out of necessity. It was easier to steal that time away for my beginning attempts at meditation, than to continue to fight the time of rest with my tension and my racing thoughts.
Then I attended yoga teacher training, where each 2hr class (of which we had 2 daily) consisted of at least 45 minutes of relaxation in Savasana. In classical Yoga as taught by Master Swami Sivananda, Savasana is practiced between each pose in order to prevent anaerobic respiration and stress in the body.
It seems like a waste of time to the modern mind, to sit in stillness with oneself, until you realize how much energy we waste being so tense all of the time. The Prana (life force) we build up during practices like yoga, meditation, and mindful eating + movement can be absorbed by a few moments of mental or emotional stress — as you probably know, from how exhausted we get after a funeral or a stressful drive.
You can’t afford to continue not knowing how to relax, if you still think relaxation is something you can do with Netflix on in the background. The sensation of deep relaxation is a microcosm of the sensation of inner peace + unconditional love. It can heal you.
If you practice.
So don’t roll up your mat and sneak out of class ten minutes early. I know it’s nice to beat the traffic at the shoe rack, but your spirit needs those moments of digestion. You engage in this practice that was built with Savasana at the end — so honor it. Stick it out. You owe it to yourself to see what happens when you stop resisting and just listen.
Some other tips for deep relaxation:
- Sivananda.org on Proper Relaxation - one of the Five Points of Yoga
- Sivananda.org instructions for Savasana
- My blog post on 3 centering and relaxing poses you can do anywhere (for those days when you can only make the first 50 minutes of a studio class)
Have you ever snuck out of class during Savasana? Were you a repeat offender who changed your ways? Or have I given you a new idea on how to save 10 minutes on your workout? ;) Let me know below!
Some spell the Sanskrit version of final rest Shavasana, but the traditional spelling as I was taught is Savasana. Neither is incorrect. Both are pronounced ʂʌ vɑ sɑ nɑ.
It would also be accurate to use Savasan or Shavasan, as some texts omit the final ‘a’ while naming asanas (the yoga postures).