Confession: I’ve been loving yoga lately. I’ve been taking one class a week to balance my cardio and strength training work, and I’m feeling great! My muscles are getting more toned and I love how flexible I feel after a class. Yoga still allows me to feel a burn in my muscles, and I love the quiet energy I feel during my practice.
A little while ago I was listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast that talked about the benefits of yoga, and she mentioned that many people leave the class during savasana, the relaxing meditation period at the end of each yoga class. Huh? Why would anyone skip savasana? It’s easily one of my favorite parts of class since it’s a time to quiet your body and mind. In fact, I’ve even considered buying this cute Etsy tank for $25.
When I heard this on the podcast I was pretty surprised, but now that I’ve been getting more involved with yoga I’m noticing it more and more. During Monday’s sculpt class at CorePower yoga for example, I opened my eyes after savasana to realize that more than half the class had already left! What the heck?
While I totally get the temptation to skip this portion of class that isn’t directly working your muscles, savasana is very important for our minds and bodies. I actually think it’s one of the most important parts of a good yoga practice, so today I’m talking about why you should stick around for savasana, despite your hectic schedule.
After the exertions of a good yoga practice, savasana allows the body a chance to regroup and reset itself. After a balanced practice, the entire body will have been stretched, contracted, twisted and inverted. This means that even the deepest muscles will have the opportunity to let go and shed their regular habits, if only for a few minutes. Savasana is a great way to regroup your mind and body, and get you ready to face the rest of your day!
Here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t skip it.
1. Savasana relieves stress
I like to take yoga after a busy day at work, or before work when I know I have a hectic day ahead of me. Instead of lying in savasana thinking about everything I have to do, I really try to relax my mind and think of everything positive in my life. I think of happy moments from my day or remind myself what I’m thankful for.
Usually I try to thank myself for the hard work during the day’s practice, and maybe even focus on a few things that made me proud during class. Whatever I think about, I don’t make a giant to-do list in my head (this takes a lot of effort!) and I always find myself feeling much less stressed afterword.
According to the Huffington Post, “Research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows people who learned to meditate and did it regularly over an eight-week period were calmer, happier and less stressed in their day-to-day lives than those who didn’t meditate at all.”
Savasana is the perfect time to practice your meditation, and can have a really positive outcome on your attitude! If you’re feeling stressed about anything in your life, you definitely don’t want to skip savasana.
2. Improves sleep
I did a lot of research on this, and a number of articles mentioned that savasana helps you sleep. Personally I’m a “good sleeper” in that I can always fall asleep in seconds and sleep soundly throughout the night. I know not everyone is like this though, and savasana is supposed to help you fall asleep faster and improve insomnia. I would guess that it’s because savasana trains you to quiet your mind and body without the help of electronic devices, but I’m not totally sure. Either way, I believe it!
If you suffer from any sleep issues, this could be a new technique to help.
3. Reduces headache and fatigue
Recent studies from MIT show meditation can help people manage chronic pain, which can include headache and fatigue. Giving our bodies a chance to reset can make a world of difference if we’re feeling any ailments, and sometimes a moment with your eyes closed away from a computer screen or phone can really make a difference.
4. Helps relieve depression
Through my research I also found that the physiological benefits of deep relaxation are numerous and include:
- Relaxes your central nervous system and calms your mind
- Relaxes your body
- Decreases beta brain waves and shifts to slower brain waves
- Helps relieve depression
5. Allows you to carry the positive energy from class with you throughout your day
Personally, this is the main reason I don’t skip savasana. Here’s a quote I like from YogaJournal.com:
In the quiet stillness of savasana, your body and mind have a chance to synthesize all the actions, instructions, and sensations you experienced in class. It gives you an opportunity to integrate your experiences from practice so that you can carry that calm, heightened awareness into every situation you encounter thereafter. Many teachers consider it to be the most important asana, because this quiet, humble pose can bring you closest to the true spirit and goal of yoga, the realization that you are part of something larger than your individual self.
There you have it! Next time you take a yoga class, don’t skip savasana.
Question of the day: How do you feel about savasana?