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?