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See you In Savasana: 5 teaching tips to help your class wind down

Savasana is arguably the most important part of the yoga class. It separates other group fitness classes from a magical yoga class.

Many of the yoga teacher’s students are busy, and this may be the only time they have to be truly still. A good savasana will leave them feeling amazing, and keep them coming back to your classes.

These five teaching tips will help yoga students wind down, relax, and fully absorb all of the benefits of their practice.

Let's Explore Savasana 

1. Observe body and breath

Throughout the yoga class, the attendees have had plenty of time to be in their bodies and with their breath. Now, it is the teacher’s duty to take the time to guide them back to their breath and body as an observer.

Not everyone relaxes into stillness easily, so it is important for the teacher to help them get there by instructing them to feel individual parts of their body letting go, the nervous system easing into a resting state, and their breath returning to its natural state.

This can be achieved by taking them through a body scan, or simply asking them to observe the natural flow of breath.

Another way for yoga teachers to help students observe their bodies is by taking their attention to the parts of the body that are touching the floor. I like to instruct them to feel the weight of their shoulders and their hips melting into the floor, releasing any leftover tension. Instructors can even tell them to feel the imprint of their bodies on the mat, like a heat signature.

Using cleansing breaths out through the mouth can be a nice way to start the process of savasana. I ask my students to breathe deeply into their bellies and chests, pause the breath for a moment, then exhale out with a sigh. I usually do this three times, and then tell them to observe the natural flow of their breath, without changing it.

2. Be mindful of your music choice

Be intentional with the savasana song, if you choose to use music at all. Slow music without words, or mantra music is always a beautiful choice. If the yoga teacher chooses music with words, it is important they listen to the words carefully and decide whether or not the words in the song are what you want your students to hear in a deep meditative state. Keep it positive.

Some teachers use the same song in every savasana so when their students hear it, it becomes almost like a Pavlovian response that reminds them to relax. I’ve personally kept the same savasana song for seven years and only change it up occasionally to fit the theme or intention of the class. When my students hear it, they automatically relax. They’re always asking me for the name of the song and sometimes even tell me that they use it at home for meditation. That’s a good sign!

You know you’ve found the perfect song when your students in their post yoga class glow tell you how much they loved it.

Tip: If you have time for a longer savasana, use your song for the first few minutes, then fade the song out and allow time for total silence.

3. Guide them through a meditation

Short guided visualization meditations are another great way to keep students relaxed for savasana in your yoga class. One guided meditation I love to use is a version of the loving kindness meditation. Start out by focusing your students' attention into their hearts. Cue them to feel their heartbeat, or their chest rising and falling with their breath. Then, follow the below script or change the words to feel more authentic.

“Call to mind someone who is easy for you to love. A beloved friend, family member, or romantic partner. Anyone who comes to mind is perfect. See their face in your mind. Speak their name in your mind. Feel the love that you hold in your heart for them.

Recognize that they too have suffered, just like you. And that they too feel love, just like you. In this way you are one, connected, two parts of one whole. 

Take a moment to send them love. See that love getting big, as big as it can possibly get. Take a moment to wish them well.

Then, release their face from your mind.

Next, call to mind someone who is neutral to you. Perhaps the barista at your favorite coffee shop, it could be someone you just met in this room before class, anyone who comes to mind is perfect. See their face in your mind, and if you know their name, speak their name in your mind.

Recognize that they too have suffered, just like you. And that they too feel love, just like you. In this way you are one, connected, two parts of one whole.

Take a moment to send them love. See that love getting big, just as big as the love you sent to the first person. Take a moment to wish them well.

Then, release their face from your mind.

Next, call to mind someone who is a challenge for you to love. This could be someone who has wronged or hurt you in the past. See their face in your mind, speak their name in your mind.

Recognize that they too have suffered, just like you. And that they too feel love, just like you. In this way you are one, connected, two parts of one whole.

Take a moment to send them love. Even though it’s a challenge. Take a moment to wish them well. Even if you aren't sure that you mean it right now.

Then, release their face from your mind.

Compassion is incomplete if it does not include yourself.

See your own face in your mind. Speak your own name in your mind. Recognize that you have suffered, and that you feel love. Recognize that this connects you to the whole of humanity, to all sentient beings. One part of the web. Take a moment to send yourself love. Just as much love as you sent the first person. Wish yourself well.

Then, release your face from your mind.

Feel love in your heart. See the glow of your love. The beauty of it. See that love getting big. Extend it out to all of the people in this room. All of the people beyond this room, in this building, in this city, in this country. How far can you extend your love? Can it cover the planet or even reach beyond?

Now see your love, its glow, and all of its beauty return to your heart. Know that it is limitless, boundless, and healing. Then release the image from your mind.”

4. Consider the words your teacher speaks in savasana a final gift to your practice

What do you want to go home with? If you set an intent for the yoga class, tie that intent in. For example, if your intent was around heart opening, you could guide them through a heart centered meditation, or recite a quote or poem that speaks to the heart.

Some teachers are skilled speakers and great at saying things straight from the heart in savasana. If you know this is you, you can plan to speak from the heart. Or, you can also write out a few sentences that you know will be impactful on your lesson plan just in case you draw a blank. It’s best not to ramble on during savasana, so try to keep your words to the point and if you’re not sure what to say, silence is always golden.

5. Allow time for silence

After your guided meditation, poem, quote, or words of wisdom, make sure to leave your students with plenty of time to absorb what you’ve said through silence.

Savasana can get your students into a beautiful, deep, meditative state. And your words can help them get there. Leaving time for silence ensures they can enjoy being in that state and getting the benefits of that state, and their practice. If you only have five minutes left in your yoga class for savasana, make three out of those five minutes silent.

Adriana Lee
Adriana Lee
Adriana's yoga journey began at a young age and continues to inspire her every day by healing mind, body and spirit through the breath. She received her 200 Hour RYT through Frog Lotus Yoga's center, Suryalila, in Adalusia, Spain. She also trained an additional 50 hours with Heba Saab at Body Heat Hot Yoga in Las Vegas, NV. She continued training with Heba by assisting and acting as a mentor to her 200 Hour trainees. She trained with Cameron Shayne in Miami and received a 50 Hour certification in the Budokon Yoga system. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and a Reiki Level 2 practitioner. Her yoga practice has brought sweetness and authenticity into her life and her intention is to share that sweetness and help her students strive to be their own authentic selves.