Discover the Benefits of Savasana–it’s not just for yogi’s

Savasana, resting pose to relax and rejuvenate from
Photo by author — Savasana segment (after asana practice) in my yoga studio. Does this look blissful, or what? [pronunciation: Shäᐧváᐧsäᐧnä / derived from Sanskrit shava meaning “corpse,” and asana meaning “posture.”]

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Here is how it will enlighten you, release you, and seduce you into paradise

by Gwenn Jones, CPT, CYT             April 11, 2024

Some folks habitually skip this closing practice altogether and dart to the exit. (This is routinely a gym thing and uncommon in a yoga studio.) However, skipping your Savasana is like leaving live embers after dousing the campfire.

Why is savasana important?

Savasana (aka corpse pose or resting pose) closes every yoga class. It allows us 5–10 minutes to unwind. It is a customized time to be proud of our accomplishments–large or small. It’s a time to surrender to the calm of our native breath. It is the mindfulness of our belly rising and falling with the ease of waves in the ocean. And, it is profoundly restorative. Also, we integrate what we did in class. Thus, we eat it up.

Cherished like a divine jewel, resting pose extends far beyond your yoga class

What are the physiological benefits of savasana?

They are vast.

The immediate effect is our body temperature resets. Specifically, the entire body resets in a pattern of this resting position. It guides the parasympathetic nervous system that enables release and calm.

Our central nervous system slows, our mind clarifies, anxiety reduces, and blood pressure can lower. These moments are when the healing begins. Healing and repair define the duties of our parasympathetic nervous system.

Resting pose allows us to be immersed in a well-suited all-about-me phase.

Now, that term does not imply, “Look at this wicked nail color, it matches my lips!”

The stage of delving into ourselves is more about gratitude, love, peace of mind, and much more. Sometimes, during resting pose, I encourage my students to picture a happy image of their dog, a memory of a vacation spot with stunning vistas, or a gentle waterfall next to a country cabin. I might express a short reading. Or, I just shut up entirely and let the breath flow. It’s hypnotic.

Savasana is our dessert whether the day’s practice was as challenging as chewing on twigs, or as serene as a milkshake melting down the throat in the sizzling sun. Or, maybe a beer. Yeah, that one.

So, viewed by the unpracticed as a waste of precious time? Nothing is more untrue. What is true is many yoga newbies find it a challenge to lie down and relax. And, quiet the thoughts? For darters, silence is outright foreign. When, truthfully, we should bathe in it. And, there are countless ways in which we can take advantage.

More on that later.

What are the psychological or spiritual benefits of savasana?

In that realm, the menu is huge. For myself, life and behavior continue to evolve — for the better.

    • Where panic would burn through me — I now pause, consider thoughts, and come to a logical process or resolution.
    • Where I might have pre-judged another human — now a comfortable “that’s just the way he is,” resides in me.
    • The easiest of all, where negative or explosive views surface, I remove myself.

There’s more. The capacity is unlimited and quite diverse among various people’s temperaments or characters. But, the sum total stands cemented in surrender and gratitude. Surrender, not in the manner of cower; instead, of acceptance and fulfillment.

Here’s an example of my savasana practice outside of yoga class.

Instructor in savasana (resting pose) legs up the wall after class

Savasana perks after a pesky workday

Before the pandemic, I worked a temporary evening gig in a department store. If you’ve mastered retail, you know the challenges of (often) shady personalities, security, supervisors, callouts, etc.. Some days challenge our sense of madness.

So, upon arriving home, I headed straight for my bed and rolled into a legs-up-the-wall pose for 15 minutes, even before changing clothes.

My boyfriend-roomie joined me in the first few minutes for a quick chat. His legs up the wall next to me. ♕ He would then head for the kitchen and leave me to unwind. Afterward, I was refreshed and tranquil. Saved.

It should be called Save-asana!

What will savasana do for you?

Savasana, exerted with intent, will:

    • bring you to a mildly meditative state of rest
    • quiet your mind and clear the garbage
    • provide pause to sink your teeth into the day’s positive aspects and feel accomplished
    • enhance the rejuvenation of your body and cells
    • reduce stress or tension, increase blood circulation, lessen insomnia and depression
    • potentially relieve headaches

In your yoga session, savasana delivers a brilliant and impressive mental transition. Cherished like a divine jewel, the pose extends beyond your yoga class. Regular Savasana practice will carry you well into your day, evening, and most vividly your future well-being. Its value is unequaled.

Regular practice of the resting pose discipline creates emotional balance. Composure overlays prior frustrations. Our potential responses to adverse situations become less flammable. (A topic for another day.)

Do you have to be a yogi?

Heck no.


Tips to squeeze the juice from savasana at home or in class

Here are some marvelous enhancements for resting posture.

Savasana with elevated hips under cushion. Instructor, Gwenn Jones
Photo #2 by author — Hip elevation reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. This modification relieves neck pain, knee pain or swelling, allows better flood flow from legs to heart, passively stretches tight hamstrings, and helps with insomnia, digestive issues, and headaches.

TIP #1

Use a cushion or bolster to elevate your hips which sends blood flow to the base of the spine. Aside from the mental and emotional benefits, this modification relaxes the hips, the abdominals, and the gluteal and low back musculature. (photo #2)

Savasana with elevated knees for relief of back stress and better blood flow. Instructor, Gwenn Jones
Photo #3 — Large bolsters or pillows can be placed at different angles to elevate the legs.
Photo #4 by author — One of my clients in resting pose with her sassy weighted eye pillow for deeper relaxation (used with permission)

TIP #2:

Cover your eyes in resting pose. How does this tiny action become a game-changer? Whether in asana class or not, this is the conquering touch! (photo #4)

Not only do eye covers, or eye pillows, block the light, but placing an article on the eyes (or forehead) calms the body AND the mind. Your resting pose is off to an exquisite start. 

Eye covers are very sensory. There are acupressure points around the eye sockets that the pillows reach. 

Here are some eye-cover tips

    • Before you cruise to your next yoga class, roll a dry washcloth in with your yoga mat. The prize is two-fold. A) You can swab if you sweat and, B) later fold it to cover your eyes in resting pose — a delish treat. Ahh, what a difference a washcloth makes!
    • Even better, utilize your venue’s dedicated eye pillows. Deliberately weighted, the pillows relieve eye tension.
    • Yoga eye pillows weigh around 8 ounces and cost around $8.
    • The pillow’s light pressure on the eyes stimulates the vagus nerve which originates in our brain. It helps control our mood and regulates our heart rate and digestion.
    • For hygiene, in our yoga studio, we wrap a tissue around the eye pillow before eye placement so the surface is clean.
    • Weighted eye pillows are also used before bedtime or napping. (Some are blissfully scented.)

CAUTION: Avoid weighted pillows in resting pose if you have low blood pressure.

All said and done…

To lead yourself to the edge, as we say in yoga, it isn’t always physical. Immerse yourself in your well-deserved yoga class finale. Stay for resting pose.

Unplug from noisy thoughts or self-judgments and melt into the joyful present. With that, you’ll reduce stress, calm your mind, and raise self-awareness.

Appreciate these minutes of paradise. After all, you are in a yoga or fitness zone to feel better and function stronger each day, Right?

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Gwenn Jones, wellness content writer, certified personal trainer (California)
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Gwenn Jones, CPT, CYT — Content writer in Wellness-Lifestyle-Fitness, Gwenn is a 25-year ACE-certified personal fitness trainer, yoga studio owner, instructor and fitness consultant. Grateful to be a native Californian where happily home-based.

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