Ask most yogis and they will say that Savasana is either their most favorite yoga post or their most dreaded. For many people, lying still and doing nothing but breathe is an almost impossible task. However, Savasana is quite possibly the most important pose of all.
Whether we're doing a nice, flowy vinyasa, a sweaty, invigorating Ashtanga series, or a restorative yin practice, we always end our practice with Savasana. Also referred to as Corpse Pose, our intention in Savasana is to let go of effort and allow our practice to sink in. However, it is not just an ending, it is also a beginning.
The original intent of asana or yoga poses was to prepare one's body for meditation. It helps us work out the kinks in our bodies, so that when we sit to meditate, we aren't distracted by the pain in our hips, back, or neck. We also focus on the breath during asana, which primes our minds to more quickly find a relaxed state.
Yoga asana practice also helps us go forward and face our days with more grace. Our practice teaches us to be aware of and honor our bodies as they are at any moment. If we notice our backs hurting from being hunched over at our desks, we can remind ourselves to pull our shoulders down and back as we are taught in Tadasana. If we are feeling anxious, we can practice four-part breath - breathing in, retaining our breath, breathing out, retaining the emptiness - to deepen and calm our fight or flight response. If we are in a challenging situation, we can remember that time we thought we'd never be able to make it through pigeon pose, but we stuck with it and lived to tell the tale.
When our teachers call for Savasana at the end of our practice, it's not something to be rushed through or skipped. It not only marks the end of class and an integration of our practice, but it marks the beginning of a new life. Each moment we are lucky enough to receive is a new beginning and our yoga practice teaches us to meet each moment with awareness and grace.