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The Importance of Savasana

Most schools of yoga recommend 5, 8, or 10 minutes minimum for Savasana (Corpse Pose) at the end of an asana practice. How can this be reconciled in a practical sense with the exigencies of clearing the room in a busy studio or gym? As a student, I feel a sense of agitation when I don't have a chance to take at least 5 minutes to integrate and be still. How important is it for a teacher to manage this? — T.

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Read David Swenson's reply:

Dear T.,

Savasana is an important aspect of the practice. Most of us live incredibly busy and hectic lives. It is wise to take at least a little time at the end of our practice to assimilate the soothing benefits we have accrued during practice.

There are different ideas as to how long one should remain in Savasana. I have a general rule of thumb: Stay at least until the heart rate and breath rate return to a resting rhythm. This may be a different length of time for each student.

As a teacher, it isn't always easy to manage the timing of the class—but that is part of being an effective teacher. We must be aware of the flow and pace of the students in order to save a bit of time at the end to close the class properly. If students want to talk after class, they can always do that outside of the room.

So, as a general answer to your question, I would say that we need to place the same importance on Savasana that we place on all other aspects of the class.

David Swenson made his first trip to Mysore in 1977, learning the full Ashtanga system as originally taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. He is one of the world's foremost instructors of Ashtanga Yoga and has produced numerous videos and DVDs. He is the author of the book Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual.


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Reader Comments

bwyoga

Tania, the answer from David Swenson included that students can talk outside of class if that is what they want to do at the end of class, after savasana. If it is a busy gym or studio then at least they can be directed to discuss their yoga experience outside of the room that is holding the next class. I think the point is not that students 'should' talk outside the room after class as much as that savasana is too important to economize for the saske of a bit of a social at the ned of class.

Tania

why students must talk if they want after the class out of the room??
Thank you,
Tania
tania76@hotmail.com

Theresa (South AFrica0

Savasana is vital at the end of class, it helps the body come to terms with the work that it has just accomplished. If savasana were omitted, the pupils would leave class with an increase in heart rate. Their breath would not have returned to normal. I have known pupils who have had a migrane attack, an hour or so after class, simply because they were in a hurry to leave. Remember Ahimsa, means Non Violence, and that starts with your body.

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