The Last Ten Minutes. Crucial.
Hello! Dear person, who stops during the fourth quarter of a yoga class, rolls up the mat and hot foots it out of the class, because you don’t have time to finish the class! Do you ever stop to think of what you could have missed? I am not talking about the twists, back bends and wind down postures that the rest of the class went through after you left, but the absolute last posture, the pose of the corpse, that you just skipped. Would you like to dwell on why you really, absolutely, shouldn’t have done that?
As a very concerned classmate, may I suggest, that if you are in a hurry, if you have an appointment you cannot avoid or postpone, and thus need to skip part of the yoga session, stop five to ten minutes before you need to leave, and drop down dead? Seriously. Just do five to ten minutes of savasana, and then leave. I promise you, you will be doing yourself a huge favour.
Savasana relaxes your body and after the tension of the various poses after the stretching, twisting, balancing, weight bearing you have jus gone through. A yoga practice session requires physical exertion, mental focus, exercise of will as well as immense concentration. Savasana creates a bridge from such intense concentration to the rest of your day. Even if you are doing a late evening session, you do need to benefit from savasana before you get up, wash up and go to bed. Just as your day will be much more enjoyable and productive if you do incorporate savasana, so will your sleep be much more, wel,l sleep, as well.
When correctly practised, savasana also balances out the mind and body after the intensity of the practice, eases the self into mindfulness and experience of an internal reality, that carries itself into the wakefulness and activity of the rest of the day. Savasana is, as far as I know the only asana that can be practised on its own, say, if you do not have time for a full practise. With all other asanas, a follow up with savasana is indicated.
Here is a discourse on the philosophy of savasana.
Here is a practical guide to savasana.
image credit: http://muselan.typepad.com/studieswithlaura/savasana/