Many people go into the practice of yoga with the aim to gain strength and flexibility. You see yogis with muscular arms and cores and very flexible limbs and maybe that is what you are after. You start to learn poses, such as downward dog, chaturangas, child’s pose, forward folds and so on. When the class is close to the end and you are asked to lay flat on your mat to settle in to the normal flow of your breath and relax your mind, in Savasana, you may have some trouble. The importance of Savasana, however, cannot be stressed enough.
Yoga instructors will sometimes tell you that Savasana is the hardest and most important part of a yoga class and this is the truth. Savasana is what helps you to absorb all of the benefits of every pose you have moved through during your yoga class. You have spent an hour or so moving through sun salutations, getting your heart rate up and working up a sweat, and sitting back in Savasana for a few minutes with your eyes closed and your palms turned up (or down, depending on what you are drawn to on any particular day) helps you to “set” the benefits of your practice and absorb the energy-inducing aspects of your practice as well as the relaxation-inducing benefits.
During Savasana, your body has a change to contemplate all of the postures you have just moved through, before going into the rest of your day to perform other activities, such as walking, writing, or typing.
In addition to the benefit of taking these few minutes in Savasana to essentially seal in the benefits of your practice, research indicates that Savasana has an incredibly calming and stress-relieving effect on the body and mind. It has also been reported to help treat some forms of depression and insomnia, increase overall energy levels, alleviate high blood pressure, and alleviate headaches.
After settling into Savasana and getting back to the regular flow of your breath, simply relax and you will find your body and mind will thank you for it.