The Hatha Praddipika (I-32) explains Savasana thus: Savasana is akin to feigning death, albeit with normal breathing. This asana is the panacea for all types of fatigue. It restores mental equilibrium.
Just Think How Often You can Relax!
Surely, very few among us will be able to say with confidence that they can at will relax, mentally and physically.
Can You Control Your Breathing?!
Here too, very few! This is despite the fact that we inhale and exhale so long as we live! But, the fact remains:
Controlled breathing is the means to enjoy long and healthy life. And, a sound mind in a healthy body helps you to have total control over your life.
Here are Your Advantages of Savasana Yoga!
Tension is conquered. Fear is a thing of the past. Introspection is possible. Analytical mental acumen fosters the relaxation mood. All these are possible via Savasana! It is the complete package for total relaxation.
You can relieve physical strain by removing the in-built tensions that our lifestyles bring in.
And, the in-built tension can be arrested only when you have a mind that can be controlled. This can be possible when you master Savasana.
Nomenclature of Savasana Yoga
The Sanskrit terms ‘Sava’ and ‘Asana’ mean ‘dead body’ and ‘exercise’ respectively. Hence, Savasana requires the yoga practitioner to lie down on the floor face upwards like a dead body. It is in this posture that the person will be able to realize what relaxation actually is.
Master this asana and you won’t ever need an alarm clock to wake you up!
Methodology of Savasana Yoga
For easy reference and practical aid, the following sub-sections have been included: Arising from Savasana, the Sideway Savasana Postures, the Relaxation Sequence, the Body Positions (Legs and Hands) as well as the Savasana
- Savasana is best practised in a serene environment.
- Select a firm flat ground.
- Spread a mat or cloth of your body’s length on the ground.
- Wear the most minimum of clothes.
- Now lie down full length and comfortably.
- Rest your head on the cloth/mat.
- Your knees must be slightly flexed although the legs will have to kept apart.
- Rest the fully extended arms lightly on the ground about a foot away from both your respective thighs.
- Slightly curl your fingers while keeping the palms turned upwards.
- Drop your chin and slightly sag your lower jaw.
- Slightly open your mouth; the teeth should be parted a little.
- Lower your upper eyelids and close them loosely.
- The eyeballs should remain still and passive.
- Gently close your eyes.
- You should be in a peaceful slumber.
- Breathe naturally via your nose and relax!
- When you relax you ‘let go’ of your body and mind.
- The total relaxation phase is that moment from where you’ll realize nothing, feel nothing, hear nothing, sense nothing and your mind will be in a total blank state.
- Notably, once you master the following relaxation steps, you will be able to conjure up your own strategies for relaxation.
- Check the relaxation strategy mentioned below
- You will notice that as your breathing slows down your mind also stabilizes and all mental activity comes to a stop.
- Just like a dead body lie perfectly still.
- Remain in this psychosomatic relaxation phase till you feel totally refreshed.
- There is no fixed time for this posture. It can stretch from a few minutes to even half-an-hour.
- Subsequently, you will be able to instinctively divide the time used in Savasana into three parts: Say, 10 minutes each for the above orthodox Savasana posture as well as for those Savasana positions when you roll on to the left and the right sides one after the other In fact, you will be enjoying the maximum advantages from Savasana by gently rolling on to your either side and remaining in those positions in the same relaxed mood for the stipulated minutes.
- Between any two Savasana positions, keep your eyes closed and just flow from one posture to the other in a continuous rhythm. (Go through the next section on the sideway Savasana postures)
Arising from Savasana
- After you reach the serene clear mood gently open your eyes.
- From the right side return to the upward position.
- Stretch out your limbs.
- Bring the arms closer to your body.
- Then stretch the arms overhead.
- Take a deep breath.
- Holding on to the breath stretch the limbs to their optimum level. Activate the muscles as well.
- While you exhale, slowly ‘let go’ your body.
- Slowly join your legs.
- Comfortably place the right foot as well as the left elbow on the floor.
- Once again extend your legs to the comfortable widest position.
- Stretch out your hands well on both sides slightly beyond the head.
- Place the palms on the floor.
- Slowly turn your pelvic region to the left putting pressure on the hips and the turned abdominal portion.
- During this position the maximum pressure will be placed on the hips as well as the arms, the knees and the legs.
- Then return to the upward portion.
- Repeat the action on the right side as well.
- Relax for some time and wait till your breath resumes the normal rhythm.
- Pressing your right foot and the left elbow on the ground, roll over to the left side to lean on.
- Pressing your left elbow and right palm on the floor slowly arise and assume the sitting position. Don’t exert too much
- pressure on the muscles.
- Stretch back the right foot.
- Keep both the legs together.
- Compose yourself for a minute in the sitting position.
- Then stand up without any abrupt motion.
- Don’t ever jump to your feet. The sudden change in position may also lead to a change in your blood pressure and you may feel dizzy.
- Before resuming your normal routine move around a bit.
The Sideway Savasana Postures
- As you roll over first to your left side, follow these instructions:
- First turn your head to the left side.
- Stretch your left arm under the head.
- Slightly draw up your left knee.
- Gently place your right knee over the left knee.
- Now both your legs will be turned along with your body to the left side.
- Keep the right hand on the floor (for support) near your chest.
- Then assume a comfortable posture.
- Again relax.
- Remain in the position till you feel refreshed.
- Gradually move to the upward position and relax for sometime.
- You can also loosely fold the arms and place them on your abdomen during your relaxation time.
- After that flow to the right side.
- Repeat the steps you did while turning left.
The Relaxation Sequence
- The environment must be clean, serene and very pleasant.
- Ensure that there are no extraneous disturbances.
- Don’t bring to mind any worry; don’t think of any problem or of any person.
- Slowly shift your attention and concentration to your inner being.
- Condition your mind to relax.
- Visualize that each part of your body is gently releasing all its tension to relax and only relax!
- The moment you begin perceiving the consciousness of your physical features, take some deep breaths.
- You will have to develop an awareness of the various parts of your body that are in contact with the ground.
- No part of your body portions should be taut. If there is any such part, concentrate on that part and simply release the muscles there.
- After you relax let your body go limp and just ‘sink’ into the floor.
- Simply abandon yourself, and lie perfectly still in a mind-set of total surrender.
- Assume your body has become a dead mass.
- Slowly but surely you’d be losing consciousness of your body. That’s the pristine moment. Remain in that serene state for as long as you start feeling the consciousness of your physique.
- Just follow your natural breathing rhythm and remain conscious only of your breath.
The Body Positions
- After you lie down on your mat, slowly roll your head from side to side and select a position where you can comfortably rest your head.
- The face must be turned upwards.
- Your neck should not be feeling any crampness nor should your back experience any strain.
- The body must be symmetrical and straight.
- Your spinal column should be in line with the head.
- While you stretch out your legs on the ground, there must be at least 15 inches differences between the feet.
- They should be resting on the floor comfortably and remain relaxed.
- Slightly bend the legs to the sides.
- The heels especially their inside edges must remain in contact with the ground.
- Keep the hands about 12 inches away from the thighs.
- After you return from the total relaxation state the extended arms will have to be drawn closer to your body. This should happen after you draw your legs closer and even as you keep your eyes closed.
- The hands will lie comfortably on either sides of the body till you open your eyes and prepare to arise.
Savasana Breathing Techniques
- In the initial stages, you should simply allow your natural breathing rhythm to continue.
- As you breathe, you’ll notice that your inhalation and exhalation are slightly deeper than normal.
- In Savasana, you should do the breathing in your abdominal portion.
- This expands downwards the diaphragm; and your lungs get filled with oxygenated air.
- Gradually during your relaxation phase, you won’t have to at all think about the breathing moves.
- This is because the breathing process will regulate itself.
- The relaxation stage will also normalize your pulse beat.
- As a result, the heart beat will be also normalized.
- When you start going deeper into the relaxation phase, your breathing will not become slower and deeper but also get into its natural rhythm.
- This will be perceptible when you awake from the ‘slumber’ phase after the final relaxation phase.
- It is as a direct consequence of this slow relaxed breathing that your mind too will stabilize.
- The mind becomes calm and serene; ready to take on the challenges of the busy day ahead.
Savasana Yoga Duration
- You must practise Savasana at least once daily.
- However, don’t practise Savasana after you have had your meal.
- Always practise Savasana on an empty tummy.
- Otherwise Savasana can be practised any time of the day.
- Whenever you feel tense (physically, mentally, or emotionally), move into the Savasana phase.
- Moreover, you can do Savasana as long as you like or till your mind stabilizes.
- Prior to undertaking any major activity that may require emotional, mental or physical stress practise Savasana.
- Even at times of utter crisis, Savasana can be the panacea.
- In simple words make Savasana your habit.
- But, if you feel that your legs have become numb, discontinue Savasana. Actually Savasana can be completed in just 10 minutes.
- Even if you may be suffering from high blood pressure, Savasana for 10 minutes at frequent intervals will bring you the advantages. Before entering the relaxation phase, the practitioner must believe that his blood pressure or other ailments
- have been brought under control.
Advantages of Savasana Yoga
Here’s a list of the different types of spiritual, therapeutical and physical advantages accruing from regular practice of Savasana.
- The mind will be tamed and will remain calm.
- Your mental awareness will increase and you will gain calmness.
- You will gain control over your emotions.
- There will be a natural harmony between the body and the mind.
- Your capacity to overcome stress will be developed.
- You will be able to introspect and also develop a sense of detachment.
- Regular practice of Savasana will cure dyspepsia, colitis, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, and chronic headaches.
- You will be relieved from irritability, nervousness, and giddiness.
- Heart ailments get cured.
- General cardiac problems are suitably addressed.
- Savasana considerably reduces stresses on the heart.
- During Savasana, your heart beat slows down due to the reduced pace of the respiratory process. In the process, your heart gets rest.
- The nerves are also calmed down.
- The relaxed musculature also slows down the metabolic activity.
- Many psychosomatic diseases like asthma and neurasthenia get cured.
- Regular practice of Savasana controls high blood pressure and also brings it to the normal level.
- In fact, people suffering from high blood pressure should remain in this posture for longer periods.
- Savasana restores the natural symmetry of the physique.
- Spinal abnormalities are also corrected.
- Different pains and aches are effectively healed.
- Persistent ailments are also healed.
- Savasana has a regenerative effect on the mind and the body.
- Savasana provides relief from any kind of stress and strain in a few minutes.
- Savasana helps you to strike a balance between work and rest.
- Savasana tackles restlessness, insecurity frustration, anxiety, and fear.
- You develop stronger will power.
- The ageing process is controlled
- A buffer stock of energy is built up.
- Insomnia is cured.
- Dependency on sedatives is reduced.
- Instead of many hours of disturbed sleep your mind and body will derive more benefits from a few minutes of psychosomatic relaxation.
- The deep relaxation during Savasana induces sound sleep during night time.
- The physical and mental stress and strain during a hectic day can be suitably addressed through a few minutes practice of Savasana.
- Savasana is especially ideal for aged people as well as others who feel tired easily during the middle ages. They should remain in Savasana for longer periods.
- Practise Savasana at frequent intervals during the daytime. You will be able to reduce nighttime sleep and also daytime dozing.
- Savasana is the best means of rejuvenating the body and mind after any type of physical exertion.
- The pent-up tension in the muscles is reduced. Such muscular stress may also arise between strenuous asana sessions.
- Notably, Savasana should be invariably done at the concluding stage of any yogic session.
* Sundaradasa’s Hatha Sanketa Chandrika (Asana verse-11)
* Gheranda Samhita II-19