You show up for your favorite vinyasa class in studio or at Inspire Yoga Online. You love it because it gets your heart beating. The music is always in perfect unison with your breath. When I Believe I Can Fly starts playing, your feet effortlessly lift from the earth as you hover in bakasana. You love that feeling of a good and challenging hold in chair pose (c’mon, you know you do). The sweat makes you feel productive and it even justifies that glass of wine (or two) you plan to have with dinner. The “optional” vinyasas are a joke, as you know that every vinyasa counts and gets you closer to that affordable and super cute swimsuit you just tried on at Target. Surely after all these sun salutations it will fit you better. You roll out your mat and you work hard. You make that 60 minutes worth it.
Okay, maybe not all of this is right on point. And maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the truth is that we have all been there. Showing up for more of a workout than a practice. As a culture, we are very motivated to be the most successful, most popular, most attractive, etc. Now that we have cleared that up. You should know that if this is your perspective, you are cheating yourself out of all that yoga truly has to offer. Yoga teaches us to connect with what matters most to us beneath the surface. Any physical benefit is just the icing on the cake compared to the deep understanding of self that you gain. So it is important that you value every aspect of the practice. The physical, mental and spiritual.
This is why savasana is just so important. This particular part of the practice is meant to be a culmination of the venture as a whole. It is where you take in what you need from the time you spent on your mat. So why do we often leave early? Why do we allow our minds to wander? And why does our focus get so easily swayed to merely the physical benefits of the practice?
Below are 5 reasons why you should start making savasana your most important pose.
- Balance – You’ve heard it said before, you need the yin & the yang. Imagine a river. At certain points it is calm & quiet. You can barely hear the water passing by. As you move down the river, the water turns into a fierce current so loud you can barely hear yourself think! The yang of your practice is the intensity. It’s the white water rafting of the yoga class. The yin is calm, steady flow of a stream running gently. You begin the practice in yin mode – introspection, slower movements, breath awareness, light stretching. As the class goes on, the heat builds and you transition to yang. This is where you might experience challenging standing sequences and peak poses. Once the kinks are worked out, you will notice things turning full circle. You begin to move back to those slower movements and you are able to perhaps see things a little more clearly. The absolute apex of this ending stillness, is your savasana. These few minutes are where you begin to notice the effects of yin & yang settling over you.
- Observation – One of the amazing benefits of savasana is the ability to notice the difference that yoga has just made. As we go throughout our days, we don’t really take the time to notice how things affect us. We know something upset us when we were driving, but we don’t really stop to think about it. We know something made us laugh, but we aren’t quite sure why. We don’t spend time practicing gratitude for the happy moments. The time in savasana provides an excellent foundation for honest observation. It gives you the space to really gain some perspective on what actually happened and how it affected you. If it affected you in a negative way, you can observe and release. If it affected you positively, you can absorb the joy and extend some gratitude. Being able to see things for what they are makes life just a bit more calm and clear.
- Clarity – Often times we arrive on the mat a little cloudy. Our minds clouded with thoughts, emotions, concerns, ideas, fears, hopes and dreams – all jumbled up. It isn’t always all of this at once, of course. It could just be that you are trying to make an important decision about taking a new job. Perhaps a friend has hurt you and you’re trying to figure out how to confront the situation. Maybe you are feeling a bit bombarded by social media and you can’t seem to decipher between reality and “the cloud” world where everyone seems to have perfect lives. One of the sweetest moments on the mat is when you’ve sweat, you’ve stretched, and you’ve breathed with intention for an hour and you are able to part these clouds of confusion and find a bit more clarity and
- Meditation – As you might imagine, it is a really challenging feat to just plop down and start meditating. The asana practice of yoga is meant to help clear some of the physical distraction that may get in the way of finding a comfortable meditation seat. Savasana kind of bridges the gap between asana and dharana (intense focus) then dhyana (state of meditation). Your yoga practice is meant to guide you into this state!
Meditation has many benefits. Here are just a few of them:
- Stress relief
- Helps you sleep better
- Enhances positive outlook
- Mental clarity
- Helps you develop a better understanding of your passions/dreams
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces physical inflammation
Oh by the way, Inspire is offering an instagram meditation challenge. Find out the details HERE
So savasana isn’t just a nap at the end of class? It isn’t meaningless? Nope! Remember all of this goodness the next time you are done with asana and it’s time to transition. Soak it up. The balance, the stillness, the observation, the clarity, and then afterward close with a seated meditation to really seal the deal.
Have you had any “aha” moments from your savasana or personal meditation practice? I would love to hear about your experiences. Drop me a comment below 🙂