Spending an Hour in Savasana Counts as Yoga

Sometimes we have the best of intentions going into something. We’re going to meditate for 30 minutes. We’re going to do a 90 minute self-guided yoga session. We’re going to finally finish that book we started three years ago. The irony is, sometimes what we intend and what we need are two different things.

Recently, I went into my home office with the intention of getting a proper meditation going. It is not an office in a traditional sense. Rather, I have it set up so I can practice yoga, give family and friends a massage, or meditate without interruption. We affectionately call it the “Woo-Woo Room”.

After sitting there for about five minutes, I realized what I really wanted to do was lay down. So I did. For the better part of the hour. I suppose you could call it Restorative Savasana. I lay down on some large flat pillows and used a bolster under my knees and the meditation cushion for a pillow. I covered myself in a blanket and put an eye pillow over my eyes. And for the next little while, I floated with the music.

Savasana (or corpse pose) is often called the most difficult pose in yoga. How is laying on the floor difficult you ask? Well, firstly, the pose asks you to let go and let the floor support you… completely. No holding, no effort, no being ready to jump off the floor at a moment’s notice just in case something needs doing. Just complete release.

Secondly, Savasana asks that in addition to letting go of your physical body, you let go of your thoughts, too. No thinking about your post-yoga class commute home, or what you need to pick up at the grocery store, or even your next blog post.

Quite possibly the worst things Savasana asks of you is to not fall asleep while you are laying on the floor not doing or thinking anything.

Savasana insists that you stop running. Which means you then have to face all the things you are running from. We as a society are not so good at that. We run and go and think and do until something (usually an accident or illness) forces us to stop. And listen.

I think this is why a surprising number of yoga students skip this most important end-of-class ritual. It is the same for massage. I have lost count of the number of times clients, seemingly completely relaxed, practically leap off the table at the end of the session, or turn over before I even ask. In both cases, It is slowing down. Stopping. But if you are filling your hours and mind so you don’t have to look at what is chasing you, stopping is about the scariest thing you can do.

So that particular morning, I stopped. I listened. I nurtured myself for a little while. Did I have any revelations? Not really. But I did get some relief. For an hour, the worry stopped. The spiral stopped. There were no what-ifs, no oh no’s, no how will I’s. Just the Earth supporting me and the music soothing me.

So yes, an hour of Savasana counts as yoga. Blissful, joyous, deep, painful, heart-opening yoga.