Savasana for many of us is that little nap at the end of a yoga class, welcome for some but sometimes a struggle for those of us for whom relaxation is a challenge. it is actually the most important part of the class, to be worked on like all other poses. it is also the most difficult pose and comes at the end of the class for this very reason, as well as the fact that the body needs to be stretched and tired. The body may initiate a number of distractions to avoid it such as fidgeting, coughing and itching, but it is more likely that it is the mind getting in the way. The mind will resist deep relaxation as savasana is the ultimate act of conscious surrender. But to obtain the benefits of this detachment of the mind and body one has to be fully conscious, relaxed, yet awake.
Savasana translates as ‘corpse posture’ in Sanskrit, so the practitioner mimics death in the pose – by being completely relaxed. In oriental terms death is not the end of the life but it is the beginning of the next life. In western terms, it may be seen as the end of the practice – preparing the body and mind for what comes next.
Beautifully simple to describe, but so difficult to practice! Lying on the back on the mat, the feet apart and arms a slight distance from the trunk with the palms uppermost. The back and shoulders remain in touch with floor. The eyes are gently closed. All the muscles of the body are then relaxed, there being no stretch, pull or tension anywhere. This is the difficult part and requires practice and patience. By paying attention to each part of body and noticing, but not forcing, the breath, one should see if any tension or uneasiness lingers after the posture work and, if so, one should try to let it go. Particular attention should be paid to the joints and the large muscles and care taken to avoid falling asleep. Slowly, the mind becomes calm and the body will feel lighter until a deep relaxation descends.
Effects of Savasana
Savasana provides the most natural position for the body to achieve complete physical and mental rest in which there is no tension or imbalance left in the muscles. As the body is supine the normal flow of blood in the body is promoted as there is no requirement to work against the gravity. No extra energy is required for any one of the various systems of the body and therefore, the metabolism is calmed. Even the blood pressure and heart rate get reduced to a minimum because there is no need to apply any force to circulate the blood. Breathing becomes slower, deeper and more rhythmic and the abdominal organs become toned and decongested. Mental and physical tension is reduced and the whole body is soothed. The restless mind is tamed.