So, How Long Can You Stay In Savasana?
The lowdown on everyone's favorite pose.
After powering through a yoga class, nothing feels better than laying back into a cozy, reclined savasana. Also known as corpse pose, this posture is a meditative rest pose that usually happens at the end of a vinyasa or hatha yoga class, says Liz Wexler, a yoga teacher at Equinox in New York City. It’s great because you basically get to imitate a corpse in the name of recovery after your yoga workout — so great that it might even sound appealing to stay in the pose until, say, you drift into a peaceful nap. But how long should savasana be in order for the restful posture to do its job?
If you’re lucky, the yoga instructor guiding your session will turn your savasana into a spa-like moment by playing meditation music or a singing bowl, both of which aid in the zen-out vibes. And yet, however relaxing it’s meant to be, it can be difficult for some to stay in savasana for any length of time. In fact, corpse pose is referred to by yoga teachers as one of the most challenging poses, says Wexler. Think of it as similar to meditating — it’s not always easy to embrace stillness. “Your intention is to be still while letting go of all the tension in your body and the chatter in your mind,” she says. Especially in today’s hustle culture, it’s surprisingly difficult to relax, meditate, and stay still for any length of time.
Here, yoga pros explain the benefits of corpse pose, how long your savasana should be, and how you can make the most of the posture.
The Benefits Of Savasana
While lying still on a mat may not feel significant, there are all sorts of benefits to be gained from savasana. “It’s a moment for your body to cool down and come back to balance after heat-building movements,” Wexler tells Bustle. If you just did a sweaty flow, this is a chance to bring your breathing back to normal and notice all the benefits of your workout.
Savasana is also a deep form of rest similar to yoga nidra that can be incredibly regenerative to your body and mind. “The pose brings us to the parasympathetic state, calming the nervous system,” she says. “This helps us to reset and is highly effective for relieving stress and anxiety as well as aiding digestion.”
It’s why you could do savasana at the end of a class, or even all on its own whenever you need to relax, reset, or check in with yourself. “We are used to constantly doing things because completing tasks makes us feel productive and accomplished, so we naturally struggle when asked to quiet our mind and our body,” Wexler explains. “Savasana is a moment for us to no longer be humans doing things, but rather humans being.”
How To Do Corpse Pose
Here’s how to do savasana, according to Stella Stephanopoulos, a yoga teacher at CorePower and founder of the podcast Everyday Endorphins.
- Lie on a comfortable surface, like your mat.
- Use a blanket, bolster, or block to make sure your body feels supported.
- Extend your legs straight and let your arms rest by your sides.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax the space between your eyebrows, or wherever else you hold tension.
- Let all your muscles relax so it feels like your body is melting into the mat.
- Gently bring your awareness to your breath, allowing for natural fluctuation of your inhales and exhales.
- With every inhale, feel the oxygen expanding through your body.
- With every exhale, begin to release any tension in your body.
- Stay as long as you need.
- To come out of savasana, bring your awareness back to the room, wiggle your fingers and toes, and slowly open your eyes.
- Turn onto your side and push yourself up to a seated position.
How Long Should Savasana Be?
Many yoga sessions — whether in person or online — will leave about 10 minutes at the end of class for a savasana, says Stephanopoulos. “This is an ideal length of time,” she says, since the mind typically wanders during the first few minutes. By the 10-minute mark, you should feel totally relaxed.
If your mind is racing or you feel like you want to get up and dash away, consider staying in the pose a little longer. According to therapist and yoga teacher Arielle Pinkston, M.A., LMFT, FNTP, these jitters are a sign your body really needs the time to relax, and you’ll likely benefit from the downtime.
In general, it’s best to stay in savasana until the teacher guides your attention back to the room. If you’re at home, you can technically stay in savasana for however long you like. As with any meditation, once you get past the initial mental hurdle and settle in, it’ll be easier to stick with it.
That said, spending one minute in corpse pose is also OK. “Savanasa is more beneficial the longer you are in it, but even one or two minutes can go a long way, inviting greater calm and relaxation into your practice,” Stephanopoulos says. Start by tacking a minute or two onto the end of your stretch and see how it feels.
How To Get Better At Savasana
According to Pinkston, it’ll help to “get out any wiggles” before you lay down. Shake your arms and legs to get rid of excess energy, then find a comfortable position using a blanket and cushions. If you’re warm, cozy, and supported, it’ll be easier to forget about the room, melt into the pose, and stay for longer.
Once you’re situated, check in with yourself. “If you’re having a difficult time quieting the mind, focus on taking slow deep breaths in and out,” Pinkston tells Bustle. “If you aren't in a dark room, placing something over your eyes could be lovely as well.” The goal is to get extra comfy so you can stay in savasana for as long as you need.
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Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.85485.
Liz Wexler, yoga teacher at Equinox in New York City
Stella Stephanopoulos, yoga teacher at CorePower, founder of the podcast Everyday Endorphins
Arielle Pinkston, M.A, LMFT, FNTP, therapist, yoga teacher