savasana

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If you stay in Savasana long enough, you will eventually experience three different stages of the pose. The first is what I call physiological relaxation; it takes most people about 15 minutes. At first, you might feel like the mind is still revved up and attached to thoughts, feelings, and muscular movement. But gradually, the brain waves and the breath slow down, and the blood pressure drops.

As the mind and body unwind, the real Savasana can begin. During this second stage, awareness of the outside world begins to dim. You might hear sounds, but they won’t disturb you. Instead, everything will start to drift farther and farther away.

In my opinion, the second stage is the most healing for the body and comforting to the mind. A high school student once described Savasana to me as, “Your body sleeps and your mind watches.” I like this description, because the mind never completely quiets down, but as you loosen your identification with the physical body, you can disconnect from the constant whirl of thoughts. Then you can simply witness them, just as you would notice the rising and falling of your chest with the breath. As this happens, you’ll feel more at ease and willing to be where you are.

The final state of Savasana occurs when the mind completely lets go. It is thought that the brain waves slow down to their lowest frequency. You will feel disconnected from the outside world until the timer rings or your teacher’s voice brings you back to the present.

Give yourself time to drop into at least the second stage every day. Some days you will receive the third state as a gift, but don’t worry if you don’t. Just keep practicing and it will evolve.

I sometimes ask my yoga students if they think the world might be a better place if everyone practiced Savasana every day. The unanimous answer is always yes. So let Savasana begin with you, today. Instead of thinking of it as an unimportant finishing pose that isn’t really necessary, think of your active yoga practice as a preparation for the real, deep yoga of Savasana.

Excerpt from Yoga Journal Article Find Serenity in Savasana by Judith Hanson Lasater

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