Closing with Savasana
"After completing the practice of asanas always lie down to in Savasana for at least 10 to 15 minutes, as this will remove fatigue," says B.K.S. Iyengar in his book Light on Yoga.
Although savasana is said to be the most difficult asana to master the focus is very simple, just relax your entire body. If you get distracted or agitated, you can always come back to this focus. Just put yourself in the posture, relax your muscles, get your mind out of the way and observe.
There are some quite involved descriptions of how to lay oneself out in corpse pose and some just say, "lie on your back". The essentials are:
(1)Lie down on your back
(2)Close your eyes
(3)Extend the legs, slightly apart and let each foot flop out to the side.
(4)Place your arms slightly away from the body, palms face up, allow fingers to softly curl
(5)Draw the shoulder blades slightly together and down the back (if the lower back or neck is sore, use a bolster under the knees and a blanket under the head and neck.)
Let go of any control of the breath, allow it to take its natural rhythm. Release the muscles, let the bones be heavy and the organs fall to the back of the body. Allow the body to feel as though it is melting into the earth.
Be aware of the stillness in your body and focus on that experience. Resisting any sensations that might make you want to move in any way, stay completely still. If a thought comes into your mind that makes your concentration slip, just note the thought and gently return to the experience of stillness. At first you may feel that the mind is still active, attached to thoughts, feelings and the body. As the mind and body unwind awareness of the outside world stars to fade, you may hear things but they won't disturb you. Sinking further into yourself the mind finally lets go, a feeling of being completely disconnected from the outside world.
What can make this pose challenging for us, is that there is nothing to "do" during the pose. Through out our lives we constantly program our minds to be "thinking" all the time, trying to solve problems, figuring out what to do next, or just stuck in the endless loop of repetitive thoughts. During savasana we may also feel like we want to fall asleep, feel bored or experience resistance.
During the posture we aim to keep our awareness with experience of our whole mind and body while lying totally motionless staying, focusing all our senses on the pose, while experiencing the subtle energies moving through us. Quieting the busy mind we sink deeper within ourselves to the same place of stillness or oneness that can be experienced through meditation.
Coming out of savasana should be done with the same care and thoughtfulness that you use in every other asana. During the transition between savasana and sitting to end a session, move smoothly and quietly so we do not disturb whatever peacefulness and equanimity that has been established.
Savasana can be taken anytime, not only after practice. Most people lead very busy lives, feeling stressed out and tired. By working a 15 - 30 minutes savasana into your day provides an opportunity for the body, mind and Soul to reconnect. Having centered ourselves and rested the body and mind we are better able to face the rest of the day or evening ahead.
Re-printed with permission from Namaskar.