It has recently come to my attention that we, as a society, all need a lot more yin and a lot less yang.
More listening, less talking.
More receptivity, less activity.
More relaxation, less stressed-out, frenzied busyness.
Savasana, also known as “final relaxation” or “corpse pose,” is often touted as the most delicious and most difficult yoga posture. It is traditionally performed at the completion of a hatha yoga practice by lying flat on the back with the palms of the hands facing up and the body completely relaxed.
Doesn’t sound too difficult, right? Most yoga students, in my experience, adore it. Some of them fall asleep. Some snore. Some wiggle and fidget the whole time.
Here’s a paraphrase of what I say in yoga class when it’s time for final relaxation:
Now it’s time for savasana. Take whatever other stretches or movements you need to get comfortable. Traditionally, this pose is done lying on the back, but you are welcome to lie on your stomach or on your side if that’s more comfortable for your body.
Scan your physical body from head to toe, releasing all remaining tension.
“I relax my body. My body is relaxed.”
“I relax my mind. My mind is relaxed.”
Stay alert, awake and conscious, even though the body and mind are super relaxed.
Then, depending on my mood and the energy of the class, I either lead the group through a guided meditation, or I let there be silence, or I play a song or two.
Here’s a handful of songs I keep in my back pocket to pull out and break hearts during the miniature death that is savasana. May they be of benefit!
1. Love by John Lennon
“Love is real; real is love.” My go-to track of late, this quiet, piano-based song is poetic, subtle and beautiful.
2. Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones
Her voice is heartbreaking. Also highly recommended: anything ever recorded by Norah’s famous sitar virtuoso father, Ravi Shankar.
3. Peace Out by MC Yogi
Unlike most of MC Yogi’s other songs (many of which I dig), this one is instrumental, peaceful, calming and perfect for deep relaxation.
4. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone
Feeling low? Nothing a little music therapy from the divine Miss Nina Simone can’t cure.
5. Give Me Love by George Harrison
“Give me peace on earth. Give me life. Keep me free from birth. Give me hope, help me cope with this heavy load..” This is my current theme song in life. Another George Harrison hit that’s adorable and ideal for yoga: My Sweet Lord.
6. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
“if you’re lost you can look and you will find me…”
7. Be Here Now by Ray LaMontagne
A gorgeous song with poignant advice in its lyrics.
8. Providence by Ani DiFranco
Featuring the artist formerly and currently known as Prince.
9. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
With much gratitude to my dharma yoga teacher, Keith, for playing this one often during savasana, back in the day.
10. Imagine by John Lennon
This legendary musician is so great, in my humble opinion, that he starts and ends this list!
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Travis May