Savasana (Corpse Pose) is really my favorite pose no matter how vigorous or mellow my practice ends up. I love when I can have a few extra minutes in Savasana, so when an instructor gives the option to stay in Savasana a little longer, I take that opportunity. You have this option, too, and I usually offer it in my classes.
I see it every time I lead a practice: the urge to get up and leave right away, the thoughts and “to do” lists starting to enter the mind, and more. It's very easy to let your to-do list creep back into your mind, or even to set an after-class action plan in your head before you leave your mat. Resist the urge and allow yourself to stay a bit. Remember that one minute is less than 1% of your day, so staying an extra minute while others are in a rush to get out of the studio could be a good option for you.
A blissful Savasana can be the perfect way to end your practice if you let it. Find the moment of stillness and relaxation that's just before the moment when you fall asleep. Linger in that area of relaxed awareness, passively observing yourself and that around you. Just be! Below are a few tips to get the most out of your Savasana.
1. Think about NOTHING.
Yes, nothing! Completely empty your mind for just a minute or two while you're in Savasana. It's when our minds fill with thoughts that we start to get anxious and want to act on them. If you can’t completely empty your mind, try focusing on one thought. Explore why you chose to focus on it, and explore ways to table that thought until a few minutes later. Maybe tune in to your breath as your sole focus. Slow it down to a resting breath pace. Feel the consistency of the air as it passes through your lungs. Let go of time and be present.
2. Use props and melt into your mat.
Give all of your body weight to your mat. Said another way, fully relax. If it feels uncomfortable to lie still on a hard floor, support yourself with props. Options include placing a block underneath the backs of your knees or underneath the ankles. This helps circulate blood better, and helps to reduce overarching in the low back. Another idea is to cover your eyes with a towel or mask or place a light sandbag across the hips to ground you more.
Find a neutral alignment in the spine, allowing the natural curves in the spine to occur. Allow yourself to use the props as tools for your practice. Let them help your practice instead of acting as a distraction for your mind and keeping you from stillness as you fuss over the placement of your props. Once aligned, melt into your props or your mat. Give all of your weight to them. Feel fully supported by the strong, solid ground beneath you.
3. Try aromatherapy.
Let your senses help you in Savasana. A drop or two of essential oils on the chest or temples, or even on a small face towel you put across the forehead can help to promote calmness throughout your body. Avoid strong scents that will overstimulate you. Some great suggestions include lavender oil (I personally enjoy a good lavender-lemon mix), sandalwood, and ylang ylang. Test the oils first with a drop or two to ensure you aren't allergic. If all is well, enjoy!
There are many more ways to explore your Savasana, but these are some just to get started. Here's wishing you a wonderful practice and blissful Savasana!
Jasmine Pilar is a Certified Yoga Teacher, ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and Private Trainer who originally hails from the Windy City (Chicago, IL). Truly practicing balance in her own life, she has always taught yoga and fitness classes while maintaining a full-time career in Finance, using that realistic connection to find yoga's place in daily life on and off the mat. Jasmine inspires others to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle aligning mind and body intentions. Her move to the beachy shores of Southern California has allowed her to lead an even more active lifestyle filled with adventure, laughter, and love. Jasmine was certified through CorePower Yoga in 2009 and continues to teach with them and other local studios in San Diego. You can follow Jasmine on twitter at @jasminefit.