Tuesday, August 10, 2010


One of my favorite yoga poses is Savasana, corpse pose. In most classes it comes at the end of the sequence of asanas as an opportunity for you yo let your body relax and absorb the previous hour or so of practice. These last few minutes of class are an opportunity for me to notice how my body feels after my practice. While savasana is a common pose to end a class, it can be done anytime...even at home.

Why not try savasana at home as a means to relax after a long day of work, difficult exam, grueling athletic event. All you need to do is lie down with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart and toes facing out. Let your arms rest (palms facing up)along the floor with about 6 inches or so between your triceps and rib cage. For maximum relaxation, you want your chin to be parallel to the floor. If your head is tilted you can place a towel or a pillow underneath it. An option is to place a rolled towel, blanket or pillow under your knees as well.

As I recline on my back in savasana and just breathe my mind does drift. I get so relaxed that, from time to time, I do find myself starting to fall asleep. You can lead yourself through a yoga nidra, yogic sleep, to find greater relaxation if you wish guidance to help your mind relax. (Yoga nidras can also be downloaded). One way to do a yoga nidra is to do a body scan. Start with your head and imagine it feeling heavy against the floor and relaxing deeply into it. Turn your attention to your eyes. while keeping them shut, look up, down and from side to side. Then allow them to relax, turning your focus inward. As you reach your arms, start drawing your focus to the right side. Make a fist and extend the right arm from shoulder to fist as you inhale. Hold for a few breaths. On an exhalation, allow the arm to return to the ground and rest without tension or effort. Repeat on the left side. Continue down your body drawing awareness to each limb, joint, major muscle.

Studies show that yoga does relieve stress. Doing Yoga does not always have to mean attending a class at a studio or a gym. Doing yoga can be incorporating a pose into your daily routine. Most of us need to take time to relax...why not add savasana to your day. Try a yoga nidra as well!

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