Savasana – an important part of yoga practice
Savasana is self care. The opportunity to arrive and let go of stress.
All yoga has the goal of bringing health and clarity to the body and mind (at least this is what it should do). Relaxing isn’t something we should need to learn but the nature of our world challenges us to just ‘be’ and we continue to put pressure on our self to perform, be ready, move on! Instead, how easy might it be for us to just ‘let go’?
Yoga talks about a concept known as isvara – the understanding that we are not the master, not the ultimate authority and that there is something greater than us that ‘holds’ this world. Right now we are all being forced to see this and asked to accept it.
So how does savasana come into this?
Our attitude. When we come into this pose there is a kind of surrender to something else and an acknowledgement that we have a right to just be without expectation, judgement, defensiveness and all the other layers the mind wraps us in.
Relaxation requires trust – in savasana the front of the body is open and exposed, the eyes are closed. The senses move towards an inward state – pratyahara.
Savasana is an invitation to heal.
Steps for self care in Savasana.
1. Find a quiet and comfortable space to lie down in. Feel supported by what is beneath you. Perhaps a rolled up blanket under the knees to support the back.
2. Once the body is on the floor, a blanket can be placed on top for warmth and security, cover the eyes with a scarf or eye pillow.
3. Observe the body from within. Feet relax and fall apart, legs let go and fall gracefully outwards from the pelvis.
4. Notice the natural curve of the lumbar spine and draw the buttocks down and away from the sacrum.
5. Give the belly space to release, followed by the entire trunk. The nervous systems is intimately connected to the lower abdomen. Soften this space.
6. Observe the arms rolled slightly outward, shoulder blades flat to floor and palms turned upwards. Shoulders down from the ears. A gesture of acceptance and readiness to receive.
7. Keep the head straight and the chin softly tucked in (use a cushion under your head if your chin tilts up). Relax throat and jaw and lengthen the back of the neck.
8. To quieten the mind and draw the senses in focus on the soft, quiet stream of your breath. Slow and long.
9. If the mind moves to other thoughts, just watch. Don’t engage. Be the observer.
10. Stay with internal awareness.
Check in to any shifts in the body patterns or muscles. If tension accumulates take steps to release it. Stay and let the mind draw you into deeper relaxation.
This is a progressive state so give your self time. Each day will be different. We are all a product of our experiences, obligations and interactions and some days these weigh more on us than others.
Don’t be deceived by the seeming simplicity of savasana. For many it is the hardest of all yoga poses. Our mind can have so much power over us. It draws us away from our deeper knowing and truest sense of who we are.
Savasana is an opportunity to reverse that hold and bring us back to our deeper self. When we arrive here we can be truly nourished.