“I’m just here for the savasana.” – Us. All the time.
Are you that yogi who does a dash to the door at the first sign of savasana? (If you’re new to the yoga scene, it’s the final pose in a yoga session, A.K.A. final relaxation or corpse pose. Basically, you lay down on your back, shut your eyes and metaphorically sink six-feet-under. Like a corpse.) If you shudder at the thought of wasting precious minutes laying around on the floor when you have so much to DO, this post is for you. Today we’re going to drop knowledge on why you shouldn’t pull a runner on your savasana.
A little backstory: the theory behind savasana is that it gives the body the chance to integrate and absorb the benefits of the yoga practice, allows energy to circulate, and relaxes the body while soothing the central nervous system. As we come into savasana, we embody peace and stillness. And as we rise up out of savasana, we are symbolically born again. A return to animation, a coming to life. An occasion to leave old and dead parts of ourselves behind. That’s reason enough to take five on your mat, if you ask us.
But the cherry on top of the savasana sundae? Sciencey types tell us that spending time in savasana actually decreases fast Beta brain waves which are associated with logic, problem solving, judgement, and the outside world…as well as stress, anxiety, restlessness and your inner critic. (Yeah, that punk.) In their stead, savasana sends a come hither message to slower brain waves like Alpha and Theta. These beauties give us access to intuition, inspiration, creativity, learning and imagination. Don’t know about you but we’ll take all we can get in that department.
So clearly, whether you’re yoga-ing or doing some other form of exercise, punctuating your workouts with periods of stillness is a damn good idea. We never skip the savasana. Ever. (You’ll notice that we include a savasana at the end of every Wabi-Sabi Well workout, in fact!) And while all savasanas are dreamy (trust us, we’re savas-aficionados), the most delicious (and profound) ones are often found at the end of an all-in, intense workout. Lying back in sweaty, exhausted ecstasy, slipping off into the abyss and sinking into the peaceful depths of stillness…well, it’s nothing short of sublime. So what makes a sweaty savasana so special?
High intensity training enhances the opposing experience of rest, creating a crystal clear contrast. And without contrast, we can’t truly appreciate or even perceive the value and beauty of the lull. Makes sense right? So the way we see it, movement + stillness is the holiest of holy matrimonies – and like any match made in heaven they enhance each other with celestial results.
Plus, a sweaty workout followed by the contrasting stillness of savasana produces the perfect conditions for mindfulness and presence. A simple moment of rest in the wake of a wild workout allows us to immediately tap into a field of awareness. The tingling, pulsing vibrating energy of our body opens up a portal into presence. We become grounded in the expressions of life force moving through us. For a window of time they’re exaggerated – the beat of our heart, the dancing sensations. We feel oh-so-alive and then, our heart rate and pulse slow, our bodies return to a place that feels safe, a place of complete rest. Zero effort. Our minds loosen and relax and we are able to really let go. Sweaty bliss.
Did we convince you that corpse pose is where it’s at? Ready to give it a shot? We’ve got three things for you to try:
- Include a savasana at the end of every workout – yoga, Wabi-Sabi Well workouts or otherwise. Even if it’s just for 1 minute. Lie on your back with your feet spread slightly apart. Arms at your side with palms facing up. Eyes closed. Let the tension from your body sink to the floor and ask every muscle to soften. Try to stay focused on the sensations in your body, rather than running off with your to-do list or those all important “what should I eat for dinner tonight” internal convos. You can even try tuning into our Chakra Chimes Meditation while you lay in savasana – sound diversion is a powerful tool that can help us lean into stillness.
- If you’re working out in a space where you can’t flop down into savasana at the drop of a hat, no worries. Another option is to stand still for a few moments in tadasana, or mountain pose. Simply stand with your feet together, arms at your sides, weight evenly distributed across your feet. Ground your feet firmly, tuck your tailbone and allow your shoulder blades to slide down. Close your eyes and notice the sensations in the body. Notice differences from left side to right. Relax into stillness for a few breaths. Too easy, ham and cheesy.
- You can even incorporate a savasana into the workout itself by incorporating movement with moments of stillness. Try interspersing the high intensity sections of your workout with pauses and periods of complete and total rest. So after a series of squat jumps, either stand in tadasana or lay down in savasana. Place one hand at your heart and one at your navel. Notice your pulse. Feel the breath expanding your belly. Watch your pulse begin to slow, notice as your breath recedes back into a steady tidal rhythm. When you resume your workout you’ll be refreshed and re-attuned to your body.
Suddenly a little more interested in savasana? Do you like the idea of introducing stillness into your workout? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Try one of our workouts here, every single one winds down with a savasana, so take your pick.