Have you noticed something missing at the end of many yoga classes these days? Now that class time is down to one hour and teachers are often trying to rush out of or into the room due to the close booking of classes, savasana is becoming shorter or excluded altogether.
Savasana, or corpse pose, may also be known as Mrtasana, or death pose. From what is the practitioner dying? It could be said that this essential pose of integration signifies the dying away of the external and letting go of fear. Considered by many to be the most difficult pose to sustain due to the stillness and surrender of the entire body, it could now seem lacking in difficulty for the same reason. In a time when non-stop activity and distraction are valued, perhaps savasana is getting a bad reputation for looking too easy.
Personally, I think savasana is best enjoyed when able to incorporate the four components described by Judith Hanson Lasater. She says that in order to get the most benefit from the pose, the body should be still (requiring comfort and a sense of safety), in a quiet and dark space (lacking deliberate distractions, including music, and because light causes alertness) and warm (because relaxation is difficult when the body is cold).
Stillness and warmth can be aided by props, such as a blanket supporting the head and another covering the body. An eye pillow can block out light. Music can be turned off during the pose. In my experience as a teacher, beginning students who may be more fidgety can especially benefit from propping and comfort. I allow a minimum of ten minutes for savasana, regardless of the length of the class. In my personal practice, I aim for twenty minutes.
One of the things I have loved about Pranakriya trainings is the long practices without sacrificing savasana at the end. I rise from these practices feeling like I have died to the external and let go of fear. I rise feeling integrated, balanced, and blissful. I rise knowing that savasana must be saved.