Resting in the relaxation pose called Savasana (which means Corpse Pose in Sanskrit), for five or ten minutes at the end of a yoga session works powerfully on many levels.
1) Releasing. It releases the muscles and integrates the work you’ve done in class, before you continue with the rest of your day or evening.
2) Healing. It is also a chance to drop from your thinking mind into your subconscious layers, where healing can happen.
3) Rejuvenating. Relaxing while awake is extremely beneficial for the nervous system.
Although the final relaxation pose seems so simple – it’s only lying down after all - some people find it extremely challenging. But it really is worth persevering with. Investing a few minutes of your time here gives you even more energy and capability to do what you need to do later.
I always try to give my classes a guided relaxation during Savasana, as I think it can really help you tune out of your constantly ticking mind and help you bring the mind to some kind of stillness. We seem to be ‘always on’, always doing in this busy modern world - so just to take a few minutes to lie down and relax both body and mind can be such a simple luxury.
How to do it.
Come lying down on your back, with your legs straight. Extend your arms to the sides, away from your body, palms up. Wriggle your back and shoulders, flatten your shoulder blades and make yourself comfortable. Rest on the centre point at the back of your skull.
Have your feet about shoulder width apart, then allow your toes to fall outwards. Your legs should be comfortably apart, and your arms comfortably away from your body. Give your body some space all around it. Gently close your eyes. You can place an eye pillow over your eyes if you like, it helps to block out light and add to the sense of withdrawing from external stimuli (but its not necessary, just personal choice).
Find your perfect alignment, and then give yourself permission to relax and do nothing.
The technique is simple, keep it simple. All you do is relax, everywhere and then be aware of how you feel. Relax and feel. Relax every physical and mental tension, temporarily let go of everything you don’t need in this moment, then simply pay attention and see what happens. Put aside for these few minutes any worries and concerns of the day, and release any hint of tension in your body. Savour the way you feel, and feel what’s happening right now in this moment.
“Savasana is the essence of yoga made simple: going within and experiencing yourself.” Erich Schiffmann