A delicious yoga dessert!

Yogi friends, don’t overlook savasana.  It’s a delicious dessert after a full yoga flow.  It’s not just lying there, it’s restorative, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Savasana or shavasana (shah-VAHS-anna)  (sava = corpse in sanskrit) or corpse pose in English, should conclude your asana or pranayama practice.

It is so important to make as smooth a transition as possible toward the stillness of savasana.  It’s hard to relax and breathe smoothly if your heart is pounding and your breath gasping after an hour of challenging vinyasas.  Start by choosing a few postures that can release muscular tension and help to lengthen the breath.  Some to consider may be a supine twist, or, apanasana (knee-to-chest pose).

Position & Breathing:

1. Lying on your back, let the arms and legs drop open, with the arms about 45 degrees from the side of your body.

2. Close the eyes, and take slow deep breaths through the nose. Allow your whole body to become soft and heavy, letting it relax into the floor. As the body relaxes, feel the whole body rising and falling with each breath.

3. Scan the body from the toes to the fingers to the crown of the head, looking for tension, tightness and contracted muscles. Consciously release and relax any areas that you find. If you need to, rock or wiggle part sof your body from side to side to encourage further release.

4. Release all control of the breath, the mind, and the body. Let your body move deeper and deeper into a state of total relaxation.

5. Stay in Shavasana for 5 to 30 minutes.

6. To release: slowly deepen the breath, wiggle the fingers and toes, reach the arms over your head and stretch the whole body, exhale bend the knees into the chest and roll over to one side coming into a fetal position. When you are ready, slowly inhale up to a seated position.  Finish up with any additional postures, your signature moment of meditation, words of wisdom, or pranayama, and conclude with a heartfelt Namaste.

Precautions:

Back injury or discomfort:  Do this pose with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, hip-distance apart; either bind the thighs parallel to each other with a strap (taking care not to position the heels too close to the buttocks) or support the bent knees on a bolster.

Pregnancy: Raise your head and chest on a bolster.

Usually Savasana is performed with the legs turned out. Sometimes though, after a practice session involving lots of outward rotation of the legs (as for standing poses), it feels good to do this pose with the legs turned in.

Benefits:

– Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
– Relaxes the body
– Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia
– Helps to lower blood pressure

For many yoga practitioners, silence can be startling, even unsettling, which in turn chases away all the benefits of relaxation being cultivated in savasana.  Here, music can have a deeply calming effect and also enhance the experience.  Consider using soft music played at a low volume.  Acoustic guitar, piano, or soft chants are a few suggestions.  Try: Snatum Kaur, Deva Premal or find a calming playlist on Youtube.

Namaste.

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