Time to Rest

December 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm 1 comment

Often, as I am gathering my children and their favorite stuffed bears together for nap time, I wish that someone would gather me and my favorite bear (actually, he was a stuffed dog named Henry and I still have him, though I no longer sleep with him), kiss me on my cheek, and tuck me in for a little rest.

At the end of our yoga practice, this is exactly what we give ourselves, when we take savasana.  Usually translated as corpse pose, described (by David Swenson, in his wonderful Ashtanga Yoga Practice Manual) as the “death of a practice,” it’s a chance to rest, to be.

I think of it as a time for the body to integrate all of the learning it has done during the practice.  Especially if you’re taking class, and following instruction for an hour or an hour and a half, your body and mind are probably ready for the break from listening, and doing.

And unlike rests that I give myself at other points during the day–like now, when my kids are napping, so I am checking email and writing a blog post–this is a moment of doing nothing.  A moment to simply be.

And unlike actually falling asleep, the resting in savasana is in that space between sleep and wakefulness, when the brain is alert and aware but still, quiet.  This stillness is not only an essential part of savasana, it’s an essential part of the practice of yoga.  As my first teacher said–if you don’t have this quality, you’re just standing around on one foot in a really hot room.

So, savasana is a chance to notice this quality of stillness, to be with it, to allow it to be within ourselves; a chance to rest.



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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. carolwharry  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    l looooove savasana and rest, spacing out and sleep. All is best after exercise. I too have a stuffed dog from when I was little. Maybe that’s why we are friends.


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