Savasana is one of the few Sanskrit words that I use in my yoga classes.That's because it sounds so much nicer than saying, "OK everyone, get into corpse pose for relaxation" Savasana is also known as final relaxation where you relax in a supine position and allow the body and mind time to process what has happened during a yoga class. It's sort of a counterpoint to the effort put forth during asana practice. (Asanas are the postures or poses in Hatha yoga.) Asanas help get stress out of the body, while savasana helps relax the mind.
No yoga session is complete without this final pose. The body needs this time to understand the new information it has received through the practice of yoga. Even though savasana is a resting pose, it’s not the same a sleeping! You should try to stay present and aware during the five to ten minute duration of final relaxation.
Savasana can often be the most challengin yoga pose because it can be difficult for some people to do nothing for ten minutes. Many times the body is relaxed, but the mind wants to stay active. Quieting that mind chatter takes practice. Eventually you will notice that when your body goes into savasana, your mind also assumes a relaxed position.
1. Lie down on your back.
2. Let go of holding your legs straight so that your feet fall out to either side.
3. Bring your arms alongside your body, but slightly separated from the torso.
Turn your palms to face upwards but don't try to keep them open. Let the fingers curl in.
4. Gently tuck your shoulder blades on to your back for support.
5. Relax your whole body, including the face, eyelids, and jaw. Let the body feel heavy.
6. Let your breathing occur naturally. If your mind wanders, you can bring your attention to your breath but try to just notice it, not deepen it.
7. Stay for a minimum of five minutes. Ten minutes is better. If you are practicing at home, set an alarm so that you're not compelled to check the time (there are also many good meditation apps you can use).
8. To come out, first begin to deepen the breath. Then begin to wiggle the fingers and toes, slowly awakening the body.
9. Stretch your arms overhead for a full body stretch from hands to feet.
10. Bring your knees into your chest and roll over to one side, keeping your eyes closed. Use your arm as a pillow while you rest in a fetal position for a few breaths.
11. Bring yourself back up into a sitting position using your hands to support yourself.
When your mind begins to wander, don't give those thoughts your full attention. Treat them like word bubbles in a comic strip and let them float by over head. For example, if your mind wanders to "I need to get the oil changed", let that thought bubble drift past without going into the detail of the logistics of actually getting the oil changed. Acknowledge the thought, but don't delve into the details.
Savasana is your time for peace and inner stillness and in those 5-10 minutes, it's is right where you're supposed to be.
Next time we'll talk about staying present (that is, staying awake) :)
Wellness Coach &
Happy Yoga Teacher