According to Yogapedia, the first written record of savasana is in the classic 15th-century yoga text, Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It says that “lying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called savasana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind.” Google savasana, and you’ll get: “Savasana isn’t just filler time or time to grab a quick nap before hustling back to our busy lives. The purpose of savasana is to learn just to be, a colossal challenge.”
I recently asked Rajashree for her comments on savasana. She stated that “it’s a must to practice Savasana after each asana. Scientific research shows that asanas performed with Savasana produce better therapeutic results. Each yogic pose needs tranquility for better care of the physical (cardiovascular dilation) and mental health (stress and anxiety.)”
If you practice any yoga at all, you know that savasana provides a list of health benefits, including:
- Calming the central nervous system.
- Aiding the digestive and immune systems.
- Calming the mind and reducing stress.
- Reducing headache, fatigue, and anxiety.
- Helping to lower blood pressure.
- Promoting spiritual awakening and awareness of higher consciousness.
So why don’t we place more importance on taking savasana?
According to Karsen McGinley of the Chopra Center, “Our society tends to place greater value on speed and productivity.” He says, “learning how to do nothing is a skill that can help you become more productive when you need to be. Savasana helps us learn how to completely surrender, stop fighting the clock, and make space for peace and harmony to fill the soul. Savasana is like turning off your computer when it’s acting up. Once you reboot it, the computer often has greater functionality.”
Here’s what I know for sure about the journey of understanding and mastering savasana:
Savasana won’t hold much value at the beginning of any yoga practice. You’ll appreciate the moment to catch your breath, but the real material of what savasana is giving you matures in you over time. Our exterior world takes precedent in all your transactions as a human being, yet, with patience, consistency, and over a duration of time that you can’t measure, the interior landscape of who you are surfaces, revealing the inhales and exhales, literally, of your life. Savasana is the portal; a kindling that will spark the larger world you live in, filling it with peace and harmony; all is well no matter your circumstances.
Today is International Day of Yoga!
We are in its eighth year of recognition, and I’m fiercely moved that our industry, yoga, has been given a day highlighting its importance. With the many recent shootings, how compelled I feel to write about one of the most significant gifts you’ll get out of a yoga practice; the effects of savasana.
In Bikram Yoga, you’ll practice savasana 23 times, the last one being the deepest. Do this enough, and anger, anxiety, and emotional overload can’t stick around long enough to cause any potential harm to you and those you love. Savasana isn’t meant to dismiss the dark – it’s meant to illuminate the light underneath all that darkness. How often have I come away from savasana, ready to address something that held some fear with love and inspiration? How many thoughts of uncertainty dissolved into a surrender – shifting to a readiness to walk where I didn’t want to go? These are just some of mine; you’ll have yours, too.
A portal to peace
Sure, I can give you more insight into savasana; what it is and how to do it. But the wisdom comes from your choice to do it, to stay and be still. It’s a small act given the gargantuan benefit you’ll get beyond the time you are in it. Life will become one magnificent savasana from which you do all your activities. With my life’s dedication to yoga and its spread, I’m convinced that a yoga practice from everyone, even in the slightest way, can change the world – humanity needs some course-correcting right now.
To peel it down and plea to you even further, savasana, the most straightforward posture to execute yet the hardest to do, is a perfect way to selflessly begin to be responsible for HOW we might change things in the world today. It’s not money, not a holy moment, and not a legislative act, but the bigger, harder act to choose to make it no choice; “lying down on the ground, like a corpse, it removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind,” as was said wisely hundreds of years ago.
Want to experience everything savasana and our yoga practice offer?
Growth and Gratitude
The foundation of our community is YOU – your commitment to your health and well-being. We’ve endured many challenges since March 2020 – for which we are grateful! You have been our inspiration to keep growing. Help BYSJ spread the love of yoga to the South Bay and beyond.
Sustain our future with a gift of gratitude.