To Shivasna or not to Shivasna?

In DC I was blessed with a wonderful yoga teacher.  She was energetic and just full of so much positive emotion that I couldn’t help but feel uplifted after each one of her classes.  She encouraged me and was always there with praise when I finally was able to do something new.  In short, any teacher that followed would never measure up in my mind.

I recently moved to California and began the hunt for a new place to practice my yoga.  California seemed like the promised land for yoga.  So when I arrived, I began the googling and the yelping to see what studios were nearby me.  I found two that offered classes when I needed them and were relatively close by.  I went to the first studio and tried Ashtanga, which was new to me.  The class was early in the morning and I enjoyed stretching myself out of my sleepiness.  However, it was also a self-led class.  Everyone was dong their own level of yoga and completely different things.  The teacher came around and helped each student, but I missed the community feeling of the energy of the class coming together as we all worked to hold a particularly difficult pose or flowed through a vinyassa.  Also the students came and went on their own schedule so there wasn’t a chance to get to know others in the class.

So it was on to the next studio.  This one had the added bonus of being close enough for me to bike to (yeah for no carbon!).  It was hot yoga, but more of a vinyassa flow studio.  I had once had a particularly bad experience with bikeram yoga and so I came equipped with lots of water and told myself that I could stop at any time.  The class was much more what I used to and I seemed to tolerate the heat just fine.  However, there was no shivasna at the end of the class!  I left the class feeling like my yoga practice for the day was somehow incomplete.  Shivasna to me is the one time all day when I can feel completely justified in just laying there and doing absolutely nothing.  It is a time to reflect on my practice that day and my yoga teacher says “seal in the benefits of the practice.”  I come out of it feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the rest of my day.

I have since been back the second studio and decided to get a month pass to try it out more because it seemed to be more on my level yoga wise.  The other teachers have given a short shivasna, but I always feel a bit cheated and like to come home and take a proper shivasna.  What about you?  Is shivasna an integral part of your practice or not?

5 thoughts on “To Shivasna or not to Shivasna?

  1. Absolutely. Savasana is a very important part of the yoga practice. (but you probably knew where I stand on that. >>grin<<)

    Yay for giving your mind, body and spirit time to rest in savasana at home if you don’t get a decent one in a led class. I aim for 7 minutes minimum, but 10 is even better. Of course, Judith Hanson Lasater would say 30 minutes is ideal. So perhaps it’s somewhere in between? I might be slightly off, but I seem to recall her saying it takes a person, on average, 18 minutes to get into the relaxation state. (I can’t remember which brain waves or body process the scientific study measured to determine this.)

    As you continue to grow your practice and follow your curiosity, you will find the right teacher (this could also come in different forms) at the right moment to share each stretch of the path with you.

    Thank you for allowing me to share part of your journey with you. I miss your wonderful energy and compassionate heart, but know you are sharing it fully on the west coast.

  2. Average Jane,

    I just read your comment and laughed so hard! “…all of a sudden she was talking again!” As if I could ever stop (except for savasana!)! Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Love to you both!

  3. Śavāsana शवासन Shavasana, Sarvasana, Mrtasana…
    Shivasna… is my reason for doing yoga!!!

    I would be highly disappointed if my class did not end up in this position. Even when I only get 10 minutes, I leave more relaxed than after a whole night of sleep at home. (I have 3 children in four activities, a full time job, and a traveling husband…not whining, just explaining…). BTW…this is also how I sell Yoga class to my friends who have never been! :0)

  4. Yes, I agree that shivasna is an important part of yoga. This is the first ever time that I took an exercise class and actually relaxed. I even fell asleep twice.
    Definitely recommend doing shivasna!

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