By Orlaith McMahon, teacher at Durga Yoga and Antenatal
There’s nothing like lying down on your mat after practice and sinking into a blissful ‘savasana’ relaxation to sooth away stress and simply be. It has to be my favourite part of my yoga practice.
Savasana relaxation is a few moments of meditative quiet, when your body stops moving and your mind rests. It’s your time to close your eyes and completely surrender into stillness.
What exactly is savasana?
The word savasana originates from the ancient Sanskrit words, ‘sava’ -‘corpse’ and ‘asana’ – ‘pose’.
According to yoga master BKS Iyengar: ‘Savasana is about shedding…….we have many skins, sheaths, thoughts, prejeduces, ideas, memories and projects for the future. Savasana is a shedding of all these skins to see how glossy, gorgeous, serene and aware is the beautiful rainbow coloured snake who lies within.’
Savasana relaxation during yoga is a perfect antidode to today’s hectic lifestyle. It is hugely beneficial for helping the body and mind to recover from stress and fatigue.
Yet this simple-sounding pose is more difficult than you might realise. It’s very rare that we just lie down and stop. But even a few minutes of savasana relaxation can have powerful benefits.
Here are five ways that savasana relaxation reduces stress:
1. It makes you stop
Our society places a greater value on speed and productivity, so learning how to do nothing and to stop is a skill in itself.
2. It gives you peace and self acceptance
Savasana gives you space after practse to check in with youself, to give gratitude or to set an intention for something you wish to change or do. It’s a time when you can experience inner peace and self acceptance, as you connect with your true, raw being.
3. It calms your body
Savasana can calm the nervous system and promote rest in your entire body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense shoulders and jaws soften and the eyes quieten down to reflect a quieter state of mind.
4. It quietens and resets the mind
Savasana allows you to completely surrender, stop fighting the clock and make space for peace and harmony to fill the soul. It’s been compared to turning off your computer when it’s acting up. Once you reboot it, the computer often has greater functionality.
5. You feel blissful afterwards
Savasana is the ultimate act of conscious surrender and allows the body to relax and surrender easily. It embraces and seals the yoga practice, holding the ‘prana’ or life force energy built within the practice and circulating it throughout the body. This is the reason why you feel so rejuvenated and blissful after yoga.
How to practise savasana:
Before savasana, make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Lie down on your mat and take one final cleansing breath, scan your body for any tension and mentally encourage each part of your body to relax into the mat.
Clear your mind of any external noises and internal chatter – thoughts like ‘did I leave the oven on’ or ‘I couldn’t do that arm balance’. Be kind to yourself. Some days will be easier than others, but once you get to that stage of achieving moments of quiet between thoughts you will have achieved something.
Before you finish savasana, ask yourself what you’d like to take with you from your practice and what you might like to leave behind. Take a mental snap shot of your practice and how your body is feeling.
You should be feeling more revived, awake and alive than you did before. That’s what savasana relaxation is all about.
Classes run mornings, evenings and weekends 6 days a week at Durga Yoga Studio, Maynooth Book online today >>