Confessions from Savasana.


For many practitioners, savasana (corpse-pose) is the best part of yoga practice.  Savasana is basically forced relaxation (like nap-time at a preschool, but for adults in spandex).  Because most people these days are crazy-stressed-out, this built-in chill-time at the end of a yoga class is often the only down time they get in their day.

Me? Well, not so much.  I chill a lot, especially right now since work is slooooow.  But “chilling” is not my natural state of being.  I’m pretty vata-aggravated the majority of the time.  I like to be busy and active.  Sitting around is boring!  I’m always working on a new project…that’s why I’m planning my own wedding because how could I possibly relinquish all that organizational, creative, fun business to someone else!

I rarely ever go deep into relaxation during savasana, let alone fall asleep they way some yoga students do!  The only two factors that make a super-relaxed corpse pose for me are 1 – an incredibly exhausting asana practice led by DG and 2 – a couple of heavy sandbags on my thighs and eye-pillow on my face.  Without one or both of those factors, I’m normally lying on the floor busily planning menus, grocery lists, outfits or wedding decor.  Whoops!  That’s why my Fiance Yogi sometimes calls savasana the “hardest yoga pose”, because it’s true, I’m not alone in finding that stilling the mind and surrendering into nothingness is challenging, right?

Some yoga teachers go around the room at the beginning of savasana and do stuff like offer lavender EO to students, or rub their temples or even massage their feet.  Some teachers press on students’ shoulders or give traction on their necks.  I’ve experienced all these techniques in yoga classes and for the most part (other than the traction), it kind of freaks me out.  I don’t like to be touched during corpse pose.  I have no problem receiving all sorts of intense adjustments in practice (I do Ashtanga in the Mysore style, so that means I’m used to being poked, prodded and pushed constantly) but when it comes to savasana I just want to be left alone!  In a Vinyasa class if the teacher is walking around during corpse-pose, even if it is to offer students “relaxation” techniques, it often makes me feel anxious.  I feel like I can’t relax until I know they are past me in their rounds.

As a yoga teacher of 4 years myself, I have yet to touch one of my students during savasana.  Perhaps that’s because I started out teaching Kundalini Yoga.  In this method there are no manual adjustments ever.  The theory is that every student is having their own personal experience and that as the teacher, I don’t want to enter their energetic field and disrupt their experience.  When I started teaching Vinyasa classes, I guess this idea just crossed-over with me.  Even though I offer hand-on adjustments of asanas, when it comes to relaxation at the end, I just try to be as still and quiet as I can be and simply hold the the space for the students present.

I’ve been considering trying some savasana adjustments but I’m not sure I have the nerve to yet….which is odd since I manipulate relaxed bodies all the time in my massage practice.  But it’s not the same….

What about you?  Do you like the corpse-pose adjustments or do you prefer to be left alone?

Happy Monday!






18 thoughts on “Confessions from Savasana.

    • I definitely feel you with the blanket on the hips…something about that grounding weight is very soothing…. I might give this shoulder rub thing a try, sounds like most people (other than me..haha) seem to dig on it.

  1. Two or three years ago David Williams gave a workshop at my shala. I was still counting to 120 measuring the time it was “acceptable” to get up and bolt. After a guided practice he had us lay down and said (I paraphrase) The energy that you feel cursing through your body is prana. Cultivate it. If you get up too soon you spill it on the floor. He then had us mentally count seven ohms, and if we had a thought in between we had to start from one again. Ever since I have embarrassed myself a couple of times by waking up to my own snore!

    • excellent…ok, i’m going to have to try this. sometimes i do this visualization of filling my body with light and that can help me let go for a little bit, but i think that the internal focused OM chanting is definitely a great trick. thanks maria 🙂

  2. I don’t touch students in savasana. Sometimes I speak guidance during savasana, sometimes I’m rather quiet. But I never touch them. My wife takes classes at the same studio and one of her teachers (also a massage therapist) does foot rubs during savasana, and my wife lovesit. I myself don’t mind at all if a nice yoga teacher comes around and gives me a shoulder press in savasana. But as a teacher, I want students to continue their focus during savasana and I guide them that way. So I’d never do anything like touching. Essentially, I want them in (guided) meditation.

    • Hey David,
      That’s pretty much how I view it in my teaching too. I lead them through a guided relaxation and then I get out of the way and let my students rest/meditate/sleep/go crazy in silence or whatever 🙂
      Thanks for your response!

  3. Sometimes I get my best work done during savasana and I can’t wait to get up and get back to doing…But other times I lie down and slip right into a deep meditation and get to just be.

    My teacher, knowing my vata tendencies usually tucks me in with a blanket or drops off an eye pillow and I appreciate that. But being a touchy type I love a good adjustment, rub, or whatever.
    Love keeping up with your practice girl!

    • oh and also, I totally hear you about “getting your best work done” during savasana…I’ve come up with some of my most inspired ideas for life/art/blog etc., during that time as well as some more profound realizations about what I’m dealing with in life/practice at that time. It’s definitely a super beneficial part of practice…I never skip savasana, even when I sometimes want to…haha….

  4. The only thing I miss from my practice at a not to be named chain yoga company (def doesn’t rhyme with werks), was the savasana adjustment from one of the teachers. Really felt good.

    And, glad you comment on our Dena K post — I helped me find this. Great stuff — in a world with too many blogs that don’t seem to add much to my practice, at least.

    • Enough typos for a first comment? I’ll blame my rough practice this morning. 🙂 But I do like the “general” scope of the blog — nice mix of stuff. Great!

      • haha, no worries steve! thanks for your comment(s). i really dig on your blog too and check it regularly for the scoop on the ashtanga scene. it’s a small world of us, not sure if you pieced this together but my fiance is thaddeus, who has been posting a few of your pieces on EJ. anyways, maybe we will meet you at the confluence in 2013. we didn’t make it this year because we were still in india, but i’m definitely counting on 2013…especially because of dena k! i wasnt sure when i would ever get a chance to practice with her, so i’m super pumped for that.

  5. I find it really helpful if it is right at the begining since sometimes its hard for me to relax specially my hips and shoulders so that little stretch or massage o. The temples turns out to be perfect so i can make the most of the savasana time.

  6. I HATE being touched in savasana! I remember the first time it happened and I felt almost violated. It was shocking to me. Please ask me first.

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