Savasana – What is it?
I have just read a wonderful article at chopra.com by Karson McGinley about why Savasana is probably the hardest pose, its benefits and 5 steps to a successful Savasana/Corpse/Relaxation Pose at the end of class. Lying down takes practice! So be kind to yourself and just allow the body and breath to let go: Here is a link to the full article.
“Savasana might look like a nap at the end of your yoga practice. But it’s actually a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed. In Savasana—also known as corpse pose— you lie down on your back and relax your body and mind so you may fully assimilate the benefits of your asana practice.
During this pose, you close your eyes, breathe naturally, and practice eliminating tension from the body. Ideally, this posture lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. However, even a few minutes of Savasana is said to have powerful benefits.
Savasana helps relieve mild depression, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia, according to The Yoga Journal. Savasana can calm the nervous system and promote equanimity in your entire body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense shoulders and jaws soften, and the eyes quiet down to reflect a quieter state of mind.”
Why is Savasana so difficult?
“This simple-sounding pose is more difficult than you might realize. The body can cause distractions that make it a challenge. Your body might feel cold, itchy, or unsettled. Savasana occurs at the end of the yoga practice to remedy this obstacle.
By the time you’ve completed asanas, or postures, your body and mind should be tired enough to be able to relax sufficiently for Savasana…
Even if your body is amenable to the rest, your mind can get in the way. Some common thoughts that pop up during Savasana:
- How much longer will we be here?
- Did that guy just snore? That’s embarrassing.
- I hope I didn’t just snore.
- What am I making for dinner when I get home?
- Is this relationship really working out?
- I’m hungry.
- What’s my life all about, anyway?
- I smell like sweat.
- Did I remember to pay the meter?
- Maybe I should quit my job.
It’s normal for the mind to try to resist this deep relaxation. Savasana is the ultimate act of conscious surrender. It takes practice and patience to surrender easily.
With the world moving so quickly, cultivating the art of Savasana is more valuable than ever. Our society tends to place greater value on speed and productivity; learning how to do nothing is a skill that can help you become more productive when you need to be.
Savasana helps us learn how to completely surrender, stop fighting the clock, and make space for peace and harmony to fill the soul. Savasana is like turning off your computer when it’s acting up. Once you reboot it, the computer often has greater functionality.”
Five Steps to a Successful Savasana
“Set yourself up for success. Stretch out on your mat and be sure you’re completely comfortable. Use bolsters, pillows, blankets, and cover your eyes with an eye pillow or towel. The more comfortable you are, the more you can relax. The more relaxed you are, the more easily you can surrender. The more open you are to surrendering, the more benefits you’ll receive.
Take one final cleansing breath. Your teacher will prompt you to take one audible exhale, signaling to your body to release into the pose. This cleansing breath also sends a message to your parasympathetic nervous system that it is safe to relax and be just as you are.
Scan for tension. Mentally run through all the parts of your body and try to make them heavier. Be on the lookout for tension hiding in the jaw, temples, shoulders, and hips because stress likes to accumulate in these areas.
Then, just notice. Some days will be easier than others, and that’s part of the practice. See if you can be still, at ease, and simply trust that the breath will carry you to the next moment. Watch for those peaceful moments of quiet between the thoughts. Over time, they’ll get longer, and you’ll find more inner quiet.
Set an intention.Before you come out of Savasana, take a mental snapshot of how you feel on every level. Ask yourself what you’d like to take with you from your practice, and what you might like to leave behind. Seal these observations into your psyche with an inner smile, and then enjoy a deep inhale to awaken and emerge into your day. Now take a moment to notice that you feel more rested, awake, and alive than you did before.”
Here is a link to the full article. It really is excellent and there are some amusing photos too.
Savasana is not just the nap at the end of the class!
“Savasana is a time of rest, but not a time to sleep. If you have a tendency to fall asleep, the first step is to be compassionate with yourself, and acknowledge that your body needed some rest. Over time, you can train yourself to achieve the rest you need while remaining awake.”
Here at Body Soul Yoga we invite you to take chin mudra and push the pads of the index fingers into the pads of the thumbs to create a circuit of energy, to keep you from sleeping.
We always conclude our classes with Savasana so that the body can rest and reap the benefits of all of the posture work that we have been doing in class. It also allows the energy generated to be assimilated throughout the whole body and for the toxins released to be sent to the cleansing organs.
Don’t just walk out of the class as the postures end. Find time, valuable time, just to be still. And that goes for yoga teachers too! We all need Savasana.
Give your Savasana the same attention you give to all of your other postures.
Here is the link again to this article by Karson McKinley