Savasana: The Relaxation Posture
This pose is one of the best poses for relaxing and resting the entire body. It is specifically designed to minimize sensory stimulation and encourage the yogic practice of “pratyahara”, where we draw our attention inwards, away from external distractions. One can practice this pose at any time and it is often offered near the start and/or end of yoga sessions.
- Lie down on your back and let the legs be straight, a comfortable distance away from each other, with the feet naturally flopping outwards. If the lower back is feeling sensitive then consider having the legs bent, with the knees pointing upwards and feet placed on the floor, hip width apart with the toes pointing forwards.
- Let the arms to rest a comfortable distance away from the body, ensuring that the palms are facing upwards. Let the fingers relax and they will curl slightly.
- Align the head and neck with the rest of the spine: turn the head gently from side to side until you feel that it is aligned. Tuck the chin in slightly towards the chest without straining the back of the neck or head. It may be helpful to rest the back of the head on a thin block.
- Soften every part of the head and face: top of the head, forehead, temples, cheeks.
- Let the eyes be still. You can focus your attention on the 3rd eye center, or lower your gaze towards your heart or any other point where there is no strain before settling the eyes into stillness. Gently lower the eyelids and keep the eyes still underneath them.
- Ensure that there is no contact between the upper and lower sets of teeth: allow the lower jaw to hang away from the upper jaw and let the tongue rest at the bottom of the mouth.
- Relax the shoulders away from the ears. Have a good space between the shoulder-blades.
- Encourage as much of the back and spine to be in contact with the mat underneath you without straining.
- Take a mental journey up and down the body, imagining a warm river of relaxation flowing within you, loosening tension wherever it reaches: face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, back, buttocks, thighs, legs.
- Surrender the body completely to the ground underneath you, relaxing as many muscles as you can, secure in the knowledge that you cannot fall as Mother Earth is supporting you. Let the body’s innate intelligence take over as it recognizes that you are not doing anything and simply “being”. Breathing will become slow and steady, heart beats will settle down, the nervous system will relax and the mind becomes to calm down.
- Lie in this position for about 5 – 15 minutes. Enjoy the peace that accompanies the stillness. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to awareness of your body and breath.
- When you are ready to come out, gently begin to deepen your breathing and allow movement to come to your body, working your way inwards from the outer extremities (fingers and toes) towards your center (wrists, ankles, shoulders, face, knees, etc). Give yourself a bit of a hug or a gentle stretch (or both) before turning over to one side and lying there for a short while.
- Then, pressing down on the mat or floor with your hands, bring yourself into a sitting up position. Slowly open your eyes and retain the sense of calm and peace within you for as long as you can after coming out of Savasana.