Savasana is corpse pose, the comfortable lying posture we take at the end of asana practice. Savasana is an amazing, sweet opportunity to release the weight of our bodies into the support of the earth beneath us. We observe the body’s relaxation process; as the breath becomes shallow, the bones become heavy and the muscles start to loosen their grip on the bones. As our weight releases, stress and tension dissipate.
In savasana, we are consciously relaxing and letting go. It might seem like we are “doing nothing” but we are actually giving ourselves the time and space to relax, to absorb and assimilate our practice and to rejuvenate after practicing. Just as in the other asanas – where you take on the shapes of animals, sages, trees, mountains, etc and embody those qualities – in corpse pose, you practice letting go of the body. I live and teach in NYC, where everyone is running around like crazy. For the energized student always checking things off their to-do list, always go, go, go, savasana can be the most important part of their practice.
Those practicing asana should practice savasana whether they practice ashtanga (Patthabi Jois had his students in savasana- enough said!), kundalini, vinyasa or Hatha yoga. Every time you practice, you need to practice letting it all go!
In ashtanga, there is no set time, length and duration for savasana. The practictioner simply takes rest at the end of their practice until they feel rejuvenated. On different days, based on my restlessness, I’ll stay in savasana between a minute and five minutes. When I’m taking a group class, I always listen to the teacher as they lead us in and out of savasana. And if you must leave class early, leave before savasana starts so that you don’t disturb anyone!