“Savasana” is typically the final posture of our yoga practice. The sanskrit name for the pose comes from the root word “corpse”. I used to find this name morose. I called it “final relaxation pose” or “naptime” as a joke. But over time I have come to appreciate the symbolism it contains. Lying down and assuming a stance of stillness can be a symbolic way of honouring the end of a cycle. We live in a society that tends to deny and avoid the reality of death, but taking this pose at the end of a yoga practice can gently remind us of our own impermanence. It might help us acknowledge that our time alive is limited, and awaken us to a deeper sense of appreciation for each moment we have to experience life and connection.
Deeper symbolism aside, life is busy, and our attention is often pulled in so many different directions. Savasana gives us a rare opportunity to do nothing. To rest, to breathe, to become aware of our thoughts and also to learn to let them go. Renowned yoga teacher and author Judith Lasater says, “to practice Savasana is to choose to lie down on the mat and to be become an introvert for 20 minutes, appearing dead to the outside world.”
What’s even better, you need absolutely nothing fancy to practice savasana. You can just find a floor and lie down. Maybe spread a blanket or mat under yourself. If your back or neck is a bit uncomfortable slide a pillow or yoga bolster under your knees, and a blanket under your head. Rest and breathe gently and slowly for 5-20 minutes and see what happens!
As summer draws to a close, slowing down and taking a moment to rest and let the time and events settle can be a lovely, grounding practice. In these final weeks of summer, see if you can carve out a few moments to soften to the outside world, to go inside and appreciate the end of a cycle.
Need to carve out a little more “savasana time” for yourself? Registration is open for our Restorative Immersion: a Yoga Retreat in the City I will be leading this retreat along with Emma on November 9-11, Fri 7-9pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm. This weekend will be an incredible way to slow down and practice self-care. You’ll have the chance to deepen your understanding of a wide array of Restorative Yoga postures, relaxation and meditative techniques, physical alignment, nervous system function, breath physiology, and energetics. Our holistic approach along with lots of individualized guidance and attention will help you deepen your understanding of the key postures, how to sequence them for the greatest effect, and how to use restorative yoga to assist with common challenges such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, back pain and menstrual difficulties. Wondering if this retreat is for you? Send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leena Miller Cressman is the director of Queen Street Yoga. Right now she’s in love with practicing the Tensegrity Repair Series, handstands and doing gentle twists over her bolster. You’ll also find her cruising around on her rusty but trusty bike, and tending to her community garden plot full of arugula, kale, and basil.