LIVING
09/26/2011 05:22 EDT | Updated 11/21/2011 05:12 EST

Yoga: Why You Should Stick Around for Savasana

It's something that happens all of the time in yoga classes: as you roll out of your downward dogs and settle onto your back for your final posture -- corpse pose, also known as Savasana -- half of the class begins rolling up their mats, putting on their shoes and trampling out the door. The catch is this is the one pose everyone should try and perfect.

Why? Because many experienced yogis and yoginis use Savasana to meditate -- and they're obviously onto something. Research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows people who learned to meditate and did it regularly over an eight-week period were calmer, happier and less stressed in their day-to-day lives than those who didn't meditate at all. What's more, recent studies from MIT show meditation can help people manage chronic pain.

Most yoga teachers will agree Savasana is one of the most important parts of your practice. "Savasana, as simple a pose as it seems, is so much more than the obvious break or rest as people view it in their practice between asanas (poses)," Lindsey Westmore, a certified Hot Hatha teacher at Hot Yoga Winnipeg, tells The Huffington Post Canada. "It is so important people take the time to calm their mind and come back to their prana (life force). In such a hectic, fast-paced society, it's important to find a peaceful and serene moment in the day."

When your thoughts are racing with to-do lists and project plans and appointments, quieting the mind can actually be the biggest challenge you face. But everyone can learn to meditate on some sort of level. Maybe it takes listening to your breath, chanting something over and over or visualizing your thoughts leaving your mind, but you can find your own personal zen zone.

So bottom line: stay for Savasana. It takes five, maybe 10 minutes, out of your day and will do your body and mind a world of good.

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