Not So Fast… (Hey, All Of You Serial Savasana Duckers…)

Via Andrea Marcum
on Jul 5, 2010
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Ah, savasana.

That blissful moment when we enjoy the effects of the practice we have completed and allow it to find its way into our body, mind and spirit. An acceptable, healthy way for even those in 12 step programs to feel a bit stoned, and to quietly acknowledge what we have accomplished.

So—why is it so hard for us to stay and enjoy it sometimes?

Ok, maybe sometimes those 5 minutes really are the make it or break it to our next appointment or assignment. The anticipation of knowing we have to rush to where we are headed can be a real buzz kill, making it nearly impossible to sit still and drink in the bliss. But that’s not always the reason. Restlessness can be very convincing. I know I have spent entire classes planning my escape, plotting the moment when I can slip out unnoticed and hurl myself back into the comfort of the insanity outside. Like an unfinished conversation, leaving mid stream is never satisfying. Allowing the full arch of the asana to give way to meditation always leaves me feeling better—so why would I ever plot against it? Why would I ever consider denying myself the very benefits I signed up to enjoy?

A friend and client of mine enjoyed the release of his most recent movie and the birth of his first child all within days of each other. A healthy baby boy and box office are big reasons to celebrate….but he was finding it hard to figure out just how one is supposed to do that. The pressure to be excited about it all was nearly making him depressed. Much like allowing ourselves savasana, the idea of being happy for ourselves, or pleased with something wonderful happening can be hard to embrace. Certainly we are grateful, but there is almost a superstition that can hide in the folds of that gratitude. The worry is that we will jinx it, send it away or that we don’t deserve it. The idea that we might not deserve harmony or peace is a cousin of self-sabotage—both prevent completion, one by avoiding it, the other by derailing it.

In my classes here in Los Angeles I have some serial savasana duckers, those who leave early every time. Some even pack up as soon as the calorie burning standing series is over—the thought of “sitting and stretching” is a waste of time to them. How does this chaos pass as yoga? How do any of us step from punishment to progress?


Santosha is a deep sense of contentment. It’s the flip side to the restlessness of the world that constantly threatens our sense of well being.

Santosha is not born out of acquiring more material wealth, titles or fame—rather, it’s our collective pathway to peace. It’s the antidote to thinking we need to have Jennifer Anniston’s body, or drive a Range Rover before we can be happy. It’s the reason we all need to make the time for savasana, because we have to invite and make room for Santosha in our souls—it doesn’t respond well when we run around with a iPod in one hand and a Starbucks in the other. Through savasana, we find the courage to be alone with ourselves and stay there for a while, and that’s when we start to experience little bits and pieces of Santosha.  We learn to let go of our elusive quest for worldly solutions to our unhappiness, and allow a quieter, more genuine joy come to the surface. Little by little we learn that part of enjoying something is to let it go.

Savasana, after all, is corpse pose, the death of one practice and the birth of the next.


About Andrea Marcum

Andrea Marcum, a Santa Cruz, California native, with a background in competitive gymnastics, began teaching yoga in 1999. She opened U Studio Yoga in Los Angeles in 2006. In a city of behemoth yoga studio and famous yoga teachers, Andrea and U Studio have won critical acclaim and success. Andrea relishes in the transformation yoga bring her students and the comm”U”nity it encourages. Andrea is known for her core intensive Vinyasa Flow classes, which appeal to both the famous and the infamous in LA and beyond. She teaches workshops and leads retreats in Bali, Costa Rica and around the world. Andrea’s been featured in Shape, Self, C Magazine Huffington Post and the LA Times. She writes for Gaiam, MindBodyGreen, My Yoga Online and Origin Magazine. Andrea’s an Ambassador for Lululemon, Manduka and Royal Hawaiian Macadamia. Though her early childhood aspirations were to be a fairy princess, she’s pretty happy with the way things have turned out.


15 Responses to “Not So Fast… (Hey, All Of You Serial Savasana Duckers…)”

  1. Thanks Andrea! Great post. I too wonder how — or why — someone can leave before Savasana. Because of all the yoga poses, it seems to be the most important of all. It's what all the asana is leading up to — that moment of just being. And I know it's called corpse pose, but I feel it's just the opposite. For me, it's a pose that allows us to empty so we can become replenished. When we give back to ourselves we can give more to others and also gain the ability to sustain our energy, focus and drive in all areas of life. Thanks for letting me share here!

  2. Yes! Though in my world, we call those serial duckers Savasana F*ckers. Eh, mere semantics. 🙂

  3. EcoYogini says:

    I never leave during savasana- yoga etiquette 101….

    I hate savasana. I do. truly. reason #1: it hurts like hell to lie there on my back. I have tried the bolster, feet up against the wall, pillow here, there wherever. I would much rather sit. and sometimes that is what I do (after asking the teacher of course).
    #2. Lying with my eyes closed in a room filled with other strangers makes me anxious. But for four years I suffered through that- squeezing my eyes shut anytime the teacher walked past. i am now much better… but only in the past year of so.

    I would really prefer for the instructor to say right at the start of class- please do not leave during savasana. it's rude and takes away (or steals) other yogi(ni)'s peace and zen.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for this post. Today after the class I was in, at least 3-5 people packed up and left before the rest of us even had time to close our eyes. The room was pretty full, so it was very noticeable, and the class hadn't gone over the time allotted or anything like that. Sometimes I don't notice when people leave early, but today it distracted me, and I got the feeling it distracted the instructor too.

    One other comment: after reading EcoYogini's great recent blog post about her discomfort during savasana, I've begun to offer my classes modifications (including seated meditation). I was grateful that she shared her experience, as I don't think I'd been very sensitive to that possibility before.

  5. ARCreated says:

    awesome post…ecoyogini thanks for the insight…I have always offered bolsters etc. and of course laying on your side for my expectant mommies but I will certainly offer up right to people who need it!!

  6. Jenny says:

    Hi EcoYogini,

    Thank you for your honesty about svasana (and for not leaving your class).

    I have a question for you. Your first reason for svasana discomfort – how much would more padding under your back with bolster (perhaps) under the knees, or laying on your side, or bending your knees w/feet flat on the floor alleviate your pain? Is the pain physical or does it relate to #2, that discomfort of being in a roomful of people? Would it help to be in a location where you were not surrounded by others?

  7. colleen garrity says:

    Thanks for posting this. I am a Yoga teacher in Los Angeles, and so agree.
    Well said.
    I'll pass it on.

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