Savasana vs. Yoga nidra 

Savasana - or Corpse Pose -  is a posture that allows the body to integrate what it just went through in class. It is a symbolic death after the adventurous journey that is a yoga class. The mind relaxes; stress falls away, the nervous system takes in the information gained from the asana practice then sends that information out to all the systems of the body and repair may occur. Mental and physical habits that we no longer need, those that can be deemed harmful or preventing further growth, are allowed to wither and die.

Body positioning
You lie on your back with your arms away from your body, palms turned upwards. Your feet should be hip width apart, with your toes falling outwards. Practitioners believe your relaxation posture influences your consciousness, and that this supine position prepares you for letting go and helps to balance the flow of life force in your body. Your eyes remain closed throughout the practice. It helps to have an eye pillow over the eyes. This weight on the eyelids allows the eyes to stay still during the practice. 

You will notice that the minute you come into savasana, the mind will start to wander. Don't worry, that is normal. However, in yoga we work to train the mind to stay focused. One of the easiest ways to do that is to pay attention to the natural flow of your breath. By doing so, you are making a mind-body connection and settling into a state of compassionate self-awareness. As you breathe, acknowledge any feelings that may be rising up and blocking your path to peace, then release them.

BKS Iyengar notes the following about Savasana:

“By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master."

Because of the difficulty of keeping the mind focused and to avoid drifting off to sleep, many teachers do a guided relaxation practice at the end of class. Yoga nidra (yogic conscious deep sleep - deep relaxation) is done in savasana or in a comfortable seated position. Benefits resulting from a regular yoga nidra practice are summarized nicely by Dr. Gillian Ross here. 

There are thousands of guided relaxations out there... take your time to find something you like. Here is a freebie from Dr. Gillian Ross.

If you are interested in reading more about yoga nidra, here are some starting points:

Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, one of Swami Sivananda's students

iRest Yoga Nidra with Richard Miller (iRest = Integrative Restoration). Richard Miller developed this type of yoga therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD. Read more about this here.

Yoga nidra 

Over the years, many students have encouraged me to record the guided relaxations that I do at the end of my classes. I finally decided to give it a go. Receive your free guided relaxation simply by filling out the info below!

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If you enjoyed your freebie, consider purchasing the following relaxations via our Shop page:

Yoga nidra for inner peace

  • Clench & release
  • Deep awareness
  • Five stages of relaxation
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Yoga nidra (med)
Yoga nidra for pregnancy
  • The light
  • Rainbow relaxation
  • Deep awareness
  • Baby bond

Thank you to Naomi Grifffiths for inspiration and to Casey Johnston for the smiles and encouragement.