Yoga's Most Important Pose

Kristin Haraldsdottir

kristin-h-blog.jpg

The Inner Fire Yoga community is full of exceptionally busy individuals who take time out of their demanding lives to slow down, breathe, and sweat on their mats. Our community is attracted to the practice of yoga for its many physical and mental benefits. One part of the practice that is often overlooked, or misunderstood, is savasana, the final resting pose. This occurs when the physically challenging portion of class is over and a well earned rest begins. This final portion of class often brings about fidgeting and eagerness to move on with the day. The physiological benefits of savasana cannot be overstated, particularly for the overworked, overstressed individual. Savasana has three direct benefits on your brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. 

Savasana at the end of class is an opportunity to relieve mental stress. Mental congestion and fatigue plagues many of us, and with so much information demanding our attention throughout the day, it is nearly impossible to process it all. One of the habits of exceptionally successful artists and athletes is taking mental breaks which increases productivity, revives attention, solidifies memories, and encourages creativity. Taking a few minutes at the end of a yoga class gives your mind a well-needed rest, and is an opportunity to replenish your mental energy. 

Savasana calms your central nervous system and helps melt away stress. Lying on your back relieves compression in your spine and is soothing to your nervous system. The posture requires no physical effort, is an opportunity to relieve tension in your muscles, and counters the need to hold onto unnecessary tension. 

Savasana allows you to slow down your breathing, which activates the calming side of your nervous system. During savasana, the physically challenging portion of your practice is over and your body is ready for a release. Your breathing becomes slower in savasana, which immediately activates the parasympathetic nervous system; the "rest and digest" or calming side. The benefits of savasana are lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and less anxiety.

If just five minutes at the end of a yoga class can impart all of these benefits, it is the greatest gift you can give yourself to take it all in, and help heal yourself five minutes at a time.