February 18th,2019 Savasana
Even if you haven’t taken a yoga class, you’ve heard of Savasana. Oh yea, that’s when those yogis sleep. Savasana translates to corpse pose. When performing this pose you are awake, but fully relaxed. In a typical yoga class it’s done at the end of class. This can be what some students wait for all class, others dread, and some will even cut out before missing the best part (in my opinion).
Savasana can be argued to be the hardest yoga asana. It is easy to perform, but difficult to master. First is getting the body comfortable, we can’t settle, we fidget, we’re cold, we have an itch, we feel unsettled. Then even if we can get the body comfortable, the mind gets in the way. Thoughts floating through your head of all things….
· How much longer will we be here?
· I can’t wait to eat lunch, what should I have?
· I hope I don’t snore
· Do I smell?
· Is this supposed to be relaxing?
· Did I reply to that text? I need to do that
It takes practice and patience. Learning how to do nothing is a skill and can help you to be more productive when you need to be. Even a few minutes in savasana can have powerful benefits, but ideally 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, we are so busy most are only about 3-5 minutes and it takes most of us much longer to settle in and truly relax.
Benefits of Savasana
· Calms the nervous system
· Can help relieve mild depression, insomnia, and fatigue
· Can help reduce high blood pressure
· Can help relieve head aches
· Helps fatigued muscles to relax and tens shoulders and joints to soften
· it gives a reboot, a reset
To perform Savasana
You want to stay here as long as you can so do what you need to do to make yourself as comfortable as possible. You may want to make sure you stay warm and put your socks back on, or add a layer of clothing or blanket to cover yourself.
Traditionally savasana is done lying flat on your back with your legs extended. I’ve given instructions for this as well as other variations to help you get comfortable. Savasana is your time to be with yourself and to truly relax so explore some of the different variations and see what feels most comfortable in your body. This may be different for you on different days based on how you are feeling or what you have been doing.
· Come to lie down on your mat. Let your head rest and let your arms and legs go long. As you extend the legs, allow them to relax, let the toes roll out. Your arms are by your side a few inches from your body, palms up. As you relax the hands, let the fingers curl in.
· Rolling a blanket up and placing it under the neck may help to support the head and neck
If you have another blanket or bolster you put that under your knees and extend your legs long over it, allowing your heels to come to the floor and have your low back supported there
You may want to explore opening the hips into a cobbler position, bringing the soles of the feet together and the knees opening out to the sides, you can place blocks under the knees for extra support
· Coming to a side lying position may feel really good as well. Roll onto one side and let your legs bend as much as feels good to you. Use your blanket to support your head. You can place a block between your knees so that your hips feel more comfortable.
· It may feel great to come onto your belly and rest in crocodile pose. Roll onto your belly and cross your forearms in front of you and rest your head. Let your hips shift a little side to side until your legs feel comfortable
Once you are comfortable take a couple deep cleansing breaths. Inhale through the nose and then exhale out the mouth. Deep breath in and a big sighing breath out the mouth. Now let go of the breath and let your body breath on its own, not trying to control or shape the breath. Let your whole body melt into the floor and feel the tension leaving the body. Let your awareness settle on the natural rise and fall of the belly. You may feel a sense of boredom, restlessness, and even irritation. Notice, don’t judge. Some days will be easier than others.
There are some techniques that may help you to relax.
One is to count the breath. Without altering the breath, when you inhale count inhale 1, when you exhale count exhale 1, inhale 2, exhale 2…..inhale 10, exhale 10 and then begin again perhaps the counting fades away, but if the mind is wandering just start again.
Another is to repeat a mantra. It can be anything, a short phrase that means something to you. Repeat it to yourself. “I am grounded.” “I am relaxed.”
When you feel ready to get up, start to deepen your breath as you become aware of your surroundings. Start to wake the body up with gentle movements of the hands and feet and then any movement that feels good in your body. You can make your way to one side and take a few breaths there and then come up to a seated position. Check in with your breath, notice how you feel. Ready to move on with your day or night.
Below is a short savasana that you can listen to. Feel free to stay longer if you have the time.
I hope this helps and the next time you do a practice either in a class or on your own you make time for savasana. Take the time release, rejuvenate, and renew.