What’s your favourite yoga asana? For many people, Savasana is the winner.
It’s so popular you can even buy clothing that announces your love of Savasana with sayings like “I’m just here for the Savasana” or “I do Yoga, as long as it’s Savasana.”
Savasana is much more than just lying down, and it’s definitely not sleeping. It can be an entire and complete practice in itself.
Savasana as Asana
In Savasana, you’re lying on your back with legs apart, toes falling apart, arms away from the body, palms facing up, eyes closed. It’s like any other yoga pose in that it can also be modified for those who find it physically challenging.
Practising Savasana is not as easy as it looks, especially if you accidently fall asleep! Remain steady without moving in the pose, relax, breath slowly and deeply, and be aware of what is happening in your body.
Benefits of Savasana
In Savasana, the floor fully supports the body so that the muscles can release tension. It’s easier to breathe deeply when lying down; your blood pressure is reduced and the nervous system is calm.
For benefits of asanas to be felt, practitioners need to stay in a pose for a minimum of about four minutes. As the physical challenge of Savasana is quite low, it is easy to stay in Savasana for this period, even for complete beginners.
Your body can relax, but what about your mind? By turning your attention to sensations of the breath, your mind has a chance to slow down and relax. But try to not fall asleep – after all, it is a Yoga pose!
Physical and mental relaxation are important for our health. When both the body and the mind are able to relax, you can relax completely. In this state, your body is more readily able to heal itself.
Yoga Nidra is a method of deep, guided relaxation practiced while in Savasana. It’s a yogic technique with ancient roots. In his book Yoga Nidra, Swami Satyananada describes it as “a method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation.”
Yoga Nidra can be practiced from 10-60 minutes or even longer. With regular practice, you’ll feel the depth of healing and increased consciousness. Yoga Nidra has been shown to positively affect physical and mental health issues caused by stress, including PTSD.
Given how fast modern life now goes, it’s important to give ourselves the time and space to slow down. Often we think of physically resting but, quite often, our minds are what really need this rest.
Savasana is a wonderful posture because it has some amazing benefits and can be done by everyone. So, lie in Savasana for at least a few minutes each day and rest your body and mind. It’s the best kind of relaxation you can give yourself.