Imagine this: you are preparing a beautiful cake. You gather all the ingredients, you follow the recipe, you have it all ready to go and then….. You don’t put it in the oven. It just sits on the counter.
You don’t do that right?
You put that cake in the oven and bake it!
Ok, ok, so why am I talking about cake when this post is about savasana?
Because when we skip savasana at the end of a yoga session it is like preparing the cake but then never putting it in the oven to bake.
Savasana is like the baking of the cake. We followed the recipe with the asana and the breath and then the final step is to let the magic happen.
The whole purpose of asana is not to get a nice butt or strengthen the back ( although those are wonderful side benefits). Asana helps train the mind and prepare the body for meditation.
Savasana, or corpse pose, is a key step in this process.
Savasana seems like a seemingly easy pose. You literally just lay there.
Yet for many, (myself included!) savasana can be a challenge.
Confession - When I first started my yoga journey I would leave class when savasana started! I was a busy teenager with too much to do, I didn’t have time to just lay there! What was the point!?
It took me several years to experience the wisdom of savasana. That moment where you totally surrender and allow, yes, ALLOW, the body to rest.
We are so trained to be go, go, go. If we are not moving we are losing. We have stuff to do. We need to be productive and “get things done”. Savasana is smarter than that. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, the purpose is to simply be. To rest and receive.
We can think of savasana as recharging our own battery.
Just as your computer needs to get plugged in and charged, the body and mind need that reset as well. Savasana charges your battery by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, initiating the rest and digest response. The body has a chance to catch up and calm down. The system updates can happen- blood circulation improves, freshly oxygenated blood flows through the system, feel good hormones are released and you feel refreshed and rested.
The effects of savasana can be carried with you through the rest of the day. Feeling rested boosts your mood and outlook, allowing you to flow through your day with more ease and flexibility.
So what about for those of us who have a hard time relaxing during savasana?
When the body stops, the mind is left alone to its own devices. There is no posture to take our attention away. There is simply stillness and the thoughts see that as a playground and start to run around.
If you are a human with a busy mind, do not worry, you are not alone! Thoughts are normal. That is what the brain does- it thinks.
We don’t fight this. We simply notice it. Then be with it.
We can’t control what thoughts pop up, but we can control how much attention we give them.
This is what makes savasana an advanced posture. We must remain conscious and aware, not “fighting” the thoughts but redirecting them. Allowing them to flow and go.
If this is hard, that is ok.
Enter the power of sound.
Sound, used mindfully during savasana, helps to stop that mental mind chatter that can seem to have a mind of its own.
The sounds of crystal bowls, gongs, chimes or tuning forks give the mind something to grab onto. The soothing sounds can act like a vacuum, sucking up all those stray thoughts vying for your attention.
So next time you are thinking about skipping savasana, think about that cake and bake it.
Click here for a recorded sound bath track to help make your savasana extra sweet.