Take your yoga class from good to great with hands on assists in corpse pose (savasana)
As a yoga teacher I long ago discovered that the way to really cap off the classes I teach was through touch. Whenever I gave my students some kind of gentle assist in savasana, I would get the most delicious feedback right after class. Students would tell me that it was exactly what they needed, that they hadn’t felt that relaxed in years, or that the class was perfect.
This became a sort of experiment of mine. I could teach the exact same class minus the physical adjustments at the end and people would leave satisfied, but I wouldn’t get the same sort of enthusiastic gratitude. After exploring this experiment for some time, I began to hone the adjustments I gave. Soon, my students began to EXPECT the adjustments; I couldn’t get away with not doing them anymore!
Here are the top 3 savasana assists that result in the ‘ahhhhhh, that was the best class ever’ reaction.
1) Third Eye/Temple Massage
Put some skin safe essential oils on your hands and blend with a carrier oil (like grape seed or sweet almond). Make sure the essential oils aren’t too intense. In the first few minutes of savasana, rub the oils into their third eye with your thumbs, then run your thumbs along their forehead towards their temples and massage their temples for a few moments before sliding your hands back through their hair towards the ground.
2) Rock the Baby
Stand at the feet of your student, bend your knees in a safe squat, and pick up the legs of your student from their ankles. Keeping your knees bent, rock their legs in the air from side to side slowly like you would a child. Gently tug their legs towards you as you place their legs back on to their mat.
3) Grounded Pressure
The intention here is to encourage your students to get heavy and grounded in savasana. Stand above their head, squat down, and put gentle pressure on the heads of their shoulders to encourage their shoulders to roll back and down. Then pat down their upper arms and lower arms- slow, gentle pressure. Step around to their feet and pat down their lower legs to help the lower body get grounded as well.
There is something so powerful about touch (especially when done in an environment that fosters safety and choice). I’ve found that many of my students don’t receive a lot of human touch in their lives so to receive it in yoga can be deeply comforting.
Always ask for permission before you touch your students and be sure to frame savasana assists in a way where students don’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong. You’ll also find that students will sometimes try and help you like in ‘Rock the Baby’ they’ll lift their legs for you. Encourage them to just be dead weight and let you do all the work.