By Melanie Dimmitt

We’ve all been there, in those straggling last minutes of class, feeling cooked to perfection and twitching to get back to the business of our day. But while it might seem like a glorified snooze (and a further five minutes between you and your latte) Savasana is arguably the most important part of your workout – so say the most enlightened of us.

As does the medical research which has identified the numerous physical and psychological benefits that lie in this little lay down, including stress reduction, pain management and that elusive ability to actually switch off. And if that ain’t enough to stop you from making that not-so-stealthy shuffle out the door, studies have also shown that Savasana, as a form of meditation, slows the rate of cellular aging. Ready to unlock this elixir of youth? The trick lies in doing Savasana right, so first of all…

Nestle down

Nothing kills Savasana quicker than discomfort (and fidgeting certainly won’t make you any friends on the floor) so if sprawling like a sack of spuds isn’t cutting it then change up your position, or grab a bolster or block for support. Also be mindful that your body temperature will drop back to its normal level while you’re chilling out there, so if you started class in a hoodie, time to rug back up. Now do a scan of any stressed spots hiding in your bod. Mentally visit every part from your toes to your toosh, the tips of your fingers all the way to the top of your head, and make everything heavier. Once you’ve got yourself nice and comfy, close those eyes and get ready to calm that mind.

Breathe

Savasana is all about staying glued to the present moment, and for those of us eternally pondering the contents of our inbox, the possible hidden agenda behind that emoji, and what to put in our gob for lunch, this can prove challenging. But we’ve all got to breathe, right? So saying a big hello to your lungs is a foolproof way to centre your awareness. And while there are a lot of things we can’t control in our lives, our breathing we can, so start by taking one big inhalation and letting it out slowly. Then try the exercise of thinking “Just, this breath” as you breathe in, and out.

Try a mantra

Much like a toddler, a busy brain takes a little while – and a lot of work – to temper. So when your mind inevitably strays in the way of wonderings and worries, use a word or phrase to slam the breaks on your runaway train of thought. Pick something that’s meaningful to you. It might be “love” or “grateful”, a sentence like “I feel peaceful” or even the line of a song (maybe steer clear of Metallica’s discography) and set it on a loop in your mind. If those thoughts come a-creepin’ just notice them, observe them without analysis or dissection and feel the space that this detachment creates between you and your ponderings.

Have an intention

To carry your Savasana superpowers out into the rest of your day, set a clear intention in your mind of what you’d like to take with you – and what you’d like to wipe away with your sweat rag and dump on the way out. No need to get all profound and save the world here, just think of a statement that sums up a little something you’d like to change in your life. Make it short and simple (hold the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-es) and be sure to plant it firmly in the present tense. Want to feel energised? Try “I am enlivened”. Got some pent-up frustrations with a colleague? How about “I am forgiving”? Or, if you’re feeling a bit small or sad, pull out a trusty “I am strong”.

…And repeat

For something that’s called the corpse pose, it’s darn hard to pull off – and some days it just won’t be happening. A seamless Savasana takes practice, so be patient. Stay put, stay present and give yourself permission to let go. Those little glimmers of quiet that cut through the madness of your mind will get longer, and with your attention and intention at the wheel, your brain will learn to follow your body into this sweet and restorative space.