Savasana comes from the word Sava in Sanskrit which means corpse, and Asana is posture or seat. Corpse pose is another name for what I call relaxation or the “do nothing” pose. I just prefer not to call it corpse pose so relaxation is my term of choice.
The benefit to this pose in yoga is to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. Savasana allows your body a chance to regroup, reset and process information at the end of a yoga class. It is when the strengthening, stretching, balancing, focusing, twisting all take effect. Your body is allowed time to let go of everything it was working on and holding on to. I love telling kids that this is one time in your whole day where you don’t have to do a thing. You get to just lie there and DO NOTHING.
I like to use relaxation for a practice of mindfulness. We can listen to the sounds around us with our mindful listening. We can do mindful breathing. We stay present by focusing on the sounds, music, our breath or my words. We don’t worry about what is to come next. Just breathe & relax. I love to talk them through a whole body rest by naming each body part and telling it to relax. I also love to use books like Imaginations & Imaginations 2 which are short & sweet meditations by Carolyn Clarke.
What truly gives me the greatest pleasure in my work is seeing a bunch of squirmy, wiggly kids finally relax. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers have said to me “how did you do that?” or “can we borrow you for naptime?”
Watching the kids move through a yoga class with tons of energy, to then finally be able to quiet their bodies and minds and just lay still, calm and peaceful is amazing. I do it multiple times a day, yet I still find it incredible every time.
Legs up the wall (if a wall is available to you) is a great way to relax. This pose helps to calm the nervous system as well as giving you all the benefits of inversions, without going upside down. It’s a great pose to help quiet the mind.
Props are so much fun for relaxation. In the studios, we have access to bolsters, blocks & blankets. We do some restorative yoga combined with heart and belly breathing to get the ultimate relaxation.
I always use eyepillows and give the kids the choice of placing them on their eyes or their belly. Sometimes I will put a drop of lavender oil on my hands and give them a press on their shoulders. I love to let the calming smell of the lavender linger as they relax deeper. Foot rubs are also an option. I let the kids choose whether they want the touch by placing hands at their sides for a yes and a hand on their belly for a no.
Seeing parents and kids relax together during a mom & me or family yoga class is beautiful. Taking this time to bond, connect and share with family is so special.
Seeing the teachers in my teacher training relax after a long 10 hour day of learning is pretty awesome. Their bodies are one with the mat and they are truly taking in all that they have learned in their training.
Ear to ear relaxation is also a great end to a family or partner yoga class.
I love when I come to a school where I may have only been there once or twice before and the kids say to me “are we going to do that thing with the eye pillows again?” and I laugh and say to them-