By Jennifer Kelleher
Our focus of the month for August at Ocean Bliss Yoga is Savasana, or Corpse Pose. Savasana is a restorative yoga posture often used at the end of class for relaxation and integration. While Savasana is a resting pose, conscious surrender can be incredibly challenging for some– especially those with busy minds. Coming from a fast-paced society that is focused on “doing,” settling into a place of stillness where the aim is to relax and let go can initially feel uncomfortable, boring, or like a waste of time. However, Savasana plays an integral role in the yoga practice and personally, I see it as one of the most powerful and important asanas for balancing the hurried speed of our world today. After using active asanas to strengthen, stretch, open, and release tension from the body, the final resting pose of Savasana allows you to integrate your efforts. In the stillness, everything that has been moved can land in its correct place.
To settle into Savasana, lie on your back on your mat with your legs comfortably spread and your arms relaxed alongside your torso, palms of your hands facing up. Close your eyes. Let your breath be natural, and your body find a neutral position so that prana (life force energy) can flow freely. For those with back problems or other discomforts lying flat, props, such as blankets and bolsters, may be used to help you find comfort and ease in the posture. Some examples of how to use props to support you in Savasana include placing a rolled blanket or bolster underneath your knees, or a folded blanket under the back of your head.
Savasana is different from sleep, as it is a conscious surrender during which the practitioner is completely relaxed, while remaining awake and aware. During Savasana, the energy of the body and mind are revitalized. Fatigue washes away, and focus, productivity, concentration, and memory are enhanced. The deep rest that happens in Savasana has a myriad of benefits, from lowering blood pressure to combating insomnia and everything in between.
One of the most important and beneficial things that Savasana does is it helps us to manage stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) and deactivating the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). This is crucial, as it is estimated that 90% of all doctor visits are the result of stress (according to the WHO). Since stress is the root cause of many of our issues today, by managing it we organically reduce many of the unpleasant symptoms and dis-eases that we experience, and our quality of life improves.
This month, I invite you to get curious about Savasana. Become aware of your thoughts and judgements about this yoga posture. Try it, and notice if practicing it feels easy and natural, or if it is difficult to quiet your mind and soften into conscious surrender. I also invite you to come to Ocean Bliss Yoga Studio to experience this posture in a class setting and learn tools to deepen your Savasana (and yoga) practice.
New yogis welcome! Check our schedule at oceanblissyoga.net to sign up for yoga classes, Pilates, and specialty workshops. We are located on the third floor of the Belle Harbor Yacht Club (533 Beach 126th Street). Parking available in the lot downstairs. Join me (Jen) on Wednesday, August 16 at 7 p.m. for a healing sound bath on the new moon in Leo. Call 917-318-1168 with any questions.