When I first started practicing yoga, I had some serious problems with savasana.
I understood why I was moving through downward dogs, chaturangas, and forward folds: Yoga was about gaining strength and flexibility. Yogis had strong arms, solid cores, flexible limbs, and impressive Instagram photos.
When the class started winding down and it came time to lie on my back to just breathe, exist, and clear my mind in savasana, though, I was immediately hit with a wave of anxiety.
How could this possibly be worth my precious early 20-something time? I had wine to drink, work to get ahead on, new friends to meet. Wasn't what I was doing basically sleeping? I was already dedicating eight hours of my day to this very activity!
So, I started doing something awful. I started leaving class before savasana. Trust me, putting that in writing makes me feel embarrassed. But despite the disservice I was doing to myself—not to mention how rude it was—I simply couldn't bring myself to lie there, alone with my thoughts, for even five minutes.
When yoga teachers tell you that savasana is the hardest part of class, they're right. When they tell you it's the most important part of class, they're also right.
Two yoga teacher trainings and six years as a New York City resident later, I wouldn't skip savasana in a million years. Here's why: