When Your Yoga Teacher Tells You to Stay For Savasana, You Stay For Savasana

One of my greatest pet peeves when I teach yoga is the students who skip out before Savasana. Why on earth (besides a life-saving emergency) would anyone want to leave class before Savasana? That's like buying a lotto ticket, matching the first five numbers, and turning off the TV before the sixth number is called so you can go about your day. WHY?!

Savasana is the embodiment of all the things that we seek when we hit our mats. I wish I could define it in one simple sentence: It is rest. It is relaxation. It is stillness. It is peace. But it is more than one defining characteristic of our Asana (physical) practice; it is the gushy, good stuff that fills the space we've created in our minds, bodies, and hearts at the culmination of our physical practice. At best, it's euphoria. At worst, it's a cat nap.

So much of our minutes, hours, and days are spent unintentionally thinking, moving, or doing. We form habits, patterns, and belief systems that are automatic and unconscious. We experience our five senses, but we don't feel them. Meaning, I can hear a thoughtful perspective, read an inspiring quote, or enjoy the warmth of an affectionate interaction, but like the click of a button (which we do too often), our minds jump to the next thing.

This is why, when I teach yoga, I emphasize closing the eyes and getting in touch with yourself. Not with your neighbor, not with what you see in the mirror, not with where you think the sequence is headed. I emphasize going deeper inside of yourself, which doesn't necessarily mean going deeper into the pose. I emphasize discovering what small shift you can make (mentally or physically) to create space and feel good. For some people, closing their eyes is harder than any posture I call out. For most people, doing the inner work is more challenging than mindless Vinyasas and countless Chaturangas.

Such is the human experience: thought, action, on repeat. This is why we must practice stillness — physically tiring out the mind and the body for complete and utter relaxation. We must practice grounding and breathing, space shifting, and making intentional behaviors to gain what it is we seek on our mats: enlightenment. Heck, I'd even settle for joy or a few extra moments of peace. When we practice this notion, we can fully reap the benefits that our physical practice offers us, and those benefits are found in stillness.

I know it's scary. Stopping for a moment, placing the to-do list to the side, allowing all that makes up your mental and physical space to rise to the surface of your consciousness. But when you step on your mat, when you embody the physical postures, you commit to surrendering what you want to know and open yourself up to what you need to know, and that can only be heard in silence, felt in stillness, and found in Savasana.

So do yourself a favor, and stay for the Savasana. I promise, you're worth it.