Savasana (Dead Body Pose)
At the end of the standing series, you may feel great relief to hear the word "savasana!" During the first half of class, we awaken and warm up our muscles, ligaments and skeletal system. The first savasana gives us a chance to relax the entire body and prepares us to get deeper into the internal organs during the floor postures.
Think of this long savasana as the "dress rehearsal" for the 20-second savasanas you will do between each set of each posture during the floor series. Take a moment to make your adjustments, get comfy- then try your best to be absolutely still for a couple of minutes. Just like any other posture, if you "fall out" (for example, if you fidget or wipe your sweat) just take a breath and try again.
Start with your legs straight and heels together, then let your feet fall open to the side. It's ok if your heels don't remain together when you relax the legs- we just touch the heels to be sure your legs are aligned with the center of your body. Start with your arms on the towel by the sides of your body with your palms facing up. (Don't worry if your palms don't stay that way- they will with time and practice! For now, you can try adjusting your shoulder blades down your back to help keep the shoulders open.)
Keep your head straight, your eyes open and breathe normally through your nose. Completely relax everything.
The purpose of savasana during hatha yoga class is to allow your circulation, heart rate and breath to return to the normal position before you start the next posture. The stiller you can be, the better! Sometimes doing "nothing" is very difficult... like any skill, it takes practice. One great thing about savasana is you can practice it pretty much any time!
Not only is savasana an excellent skill to learn for getting the most out of your yoga- it is an invaluable skill for your life outside the room as well. Be sure to rest at least a couple of minutes at the end of class in your final savasana, letting every part of you relax totally before you move on with your day.
One of the best ways to learn more about the postures is to read Bikram's "Beginning Yoga Class" book. Attend class 3 to 5 times weekly to put your learning into action and make your body smile!
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.