Savasana - Yoga for Beginners

 We have our second post from our resident yoga expert Marci today.
 Hmmm very timely message for me!  

This week we will discuss Savasana, otherwise known as final relaxation or 'corpse pose'. Every yoga practice, whether it is 5 or 50 minutes long, should end with Savasana. It gives the body a chance to be still and accept what the practice has brought forth.  I have encountered many people that feel that Savasana is something to be rushed through or skipped completely.  I even had one student approach me and tell me that I was having the class spend too much time in final relaxation and I should modify my teaching.  In my experience, those things that we find difficult are what we need to spend more time doing.  Savasana allows us to be still and encounter what is within us.

The way I like to describe Savasana is that it's like what happens after you throw some pebbles into a pond. As the pebbles drop into the water we see circles develop and widen.  They grow larger and larger encountering each other.  Given time the water returns to a still state.  The energy has been absorbed and the pond as a whole accepts what has been introduced.   When you engage in an asana practice you are moving the energies within your body.  By taking the time to lie still and simply ‘be’, you are giving the energy an opportunity to settle. 

To set up for Savasana, ideally you will lie on your back. I find that I like a rolled blanket under my knees to alleviate pressure on my lower back. I also like a little bit of something to support my shoulders, neck and head. My arms are softly at my sides, palms up. I place either an eye pillow or a folded washcloth over my eyes. And a blanket covering me is wonderful. By supporting yourself completely (front and back) you are in essence giving your body permission to deeply and completely relax. 

Once you are set up, relax control of your breathing. Some breaths will be deep, some shallow. If thoughts come, watch them come...and watch them go. I have described it to students like bubbles in a glass of champagne...they develop, they rise, they pop and are gone.  Another thing to note:  It is not unusual for deep feelings to sometimes surface during Savasana.  As I have mentioned, during the active asana practice you are moving the energies (both physical and emotional) of your body around.  Occasionally, it’s kind of like when there is a clog in a pipe…and once you’ve worked it free, it needs to clear the pipe.  I have experienced tears and laughter to arise unbidden (and unexpectedly) during Savasana.  As Martha Stewart would say, ‘It’s a good thing’.

The next logical question is 'How long do I stay?'. And the answer is 'As long as necessary'. There have been days that I have the time to stay as long as my body wants. And other times that I need to set a recommendation would be a minimum of 5 - 10 minutes...ideally though, I love a 15 - 20 minute Savasana.
Once you have decided to ‘wake up’…do so gently.  Bring your attention to your breathing.  Begin by softly moving your hands and feet, rotating your wrists and ankles.  Stretch gently.  When you’re ready, bend your knees and bring your feet to the ground.  Roll onto your side (keeping your eyes closed) and lie until you’re ready to sit up.  Bring yourself to an easy seated position with your hands softly resting on your knees.  When you’re ready, give thanks for having had the opportunity to rest (bringing your hands together at your heart in a prayer position if you choose) and gently open your eyes.  
In our busy world, we need to take the time to rest and allow our bodies the time to 'heal'. So, engage in Savasana often...your body, mind, and soul will thank you!


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