Tag Archives: savasana

Simplify Your Practice

Savasana, the ending resting pose in most yoga classes, can conjure up all sorts of feelings. I would go as far to say that you either love it or hate it. How can one pose create such an emotional reaction? I would guess that those who hate it are challenged by the stillness and struggle with not “doing.” Maybe it’s just really hard to get comfortable on the floor, on your back. Perhaps the silence brings an awareness to your racing mind, and that is uncomfortable. I can also safely assume that those who love it, have developed that relationship over time. Those people understand that becoming aware of your racing mind, sensations in the body, and feelings that arise are just part of the package. It comes with the territory and it’s how we choose to meet all that arises is the difference.

Savasana is the most simple pose in any yoga practice but also the most complicated. All you are asked to do is lie on the floor and “be.” Be with your thoughts non-judgementally; be with sensations in the body without creating a story around them; be with any and all feelings that you notice; just be. You have no demands on you during this time. No errands to run, nobody asking you for anything, and no tasks.

If you embrace Savasana as a gift of the practice, I challenge you to stay longer, add more props for comfort and ease, and rest in it more frequently. Extend your time by just a few minutes each time you set yourself up; the longer the better. Commit to a regular practice of Savasana by keeping your props accessible, dedicating time in your daily schedule, and set a timer so that you have the boundary to go deeper.

If you are interested in a better relationship with Savasana, I challenge you to first, get really comfortable in your set up in the most quiet, peaceful place you can find. Set a timer for 5 minutes in the beginning and extend by a minute each time you commit to the practice. Cover yourself with a blanket and cover your eyes with an eye pillow or wash cloth if you are comfortable doing so. Meet all that you notice with compassion. You can choose to spend more time with it or you can choose to focus on the present which may include becoming aware of your breath. Consider it a refuge from life, a place to hit the “pause button.” Dedicate to a regular practice to gain the benefits of stillness and deep rest. I guarantee it will work wonders if you let it!

The fancy and beautiful poses are great. They make us feel powerful, balanced, and strong. Don’t get rid of your movement practice, it’s important too. I just ask you to simplify your practice, commit to doing less, and just be.

Join me Sunday, January 21, 2018 for a 2-hour workshop, “Advanced Savasana,” where we will explore 3 comfortable shapes as well as setting up a home practice, and enjoy a generous Savasana.

Katie Rodgers is a 200-hour registered Yoga Instructor who has trained extensively with Restorative Queen, Judith Hanson Lasater and combines Restorative Yoga with mental health talk therapy for overall mind-body well-being. Register at Noda Yoga.

Lasater Yoga’s 21-Day Savasana Intensive – My thoughts

savasanaintensiveI recently completed Lasater Yoga’s 21-day Savasana Intensive.  Seems strange that Savasana(relaxation) and intensive can go in the same sentence huh?  Well THEY DO!  Savasana can be one of if not the most difficult poses in yoga.  “Why?  You just lie on the floor?”  Well yes.  That’s where the real work happens.  Not the outer body work that we are used to doing in a flow class.  It’s more about the inner work.  Savasana(or Relaxation Pose) is a place to land and notice.  Things will present themselves during this stillness; feelings, thoughts, sensations, the dreaded “judgement” word, etc.  In savasana, we can learn to sit through all of it without doing anything.  We are so used to “doing” that we forget about “being.”  Judith Hanson Lasater said during one of the audio recordings, “savasana prepares us for death.”  Whoa.  Sit with that for a minute.

Judith and her daughter, Lizzie lead the practitioner through 21-days of rest.  Each day has either an audio recording about the art of savasana, or a video tutorial on setting up.  A couple of days included guided meditation and breathwork to begin savasana.  The expectation is to listen or watch then practice savasana for 20-minutes.  You saw that I said “practice savasana” right?  This time on your mat shows up differently each day and can be challenging in different ways.  It is most certainly a practice.

I started this program in January and committed to practicing each day that I was at my office.  I am fortunate to have a very peaceful “Breathe” room that is perfect for just this.  I can confirm that I followed my plan.  Looking back, I wish I had practiced everyday to really see the effects.  The good news is that once you pay for the program, you have access to it forever.  I will practice everyday next go-around.

I learned throughout the practice how sacred rest really is.  I learned that I can take a break in the middle of the day for rest.  I learned that a “real” savasana is at least 10-minutes.  I learned new ways to set up savasana.  I learned breathing techniques to lead in to savasana.  I learned why savasana is so important.  I learned that I need rest.

 

Do this program if:

  • You would like to take your understanding of savasana deeper
  • You are a yoga teacher(you get 20 CE hours upon completion!)
  • You are a practitioner of yoga
  • You need rest

Travel Restorative Yoga

Tips on how to be creative with props in a hotel room to utilize restorative yoga poses.

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Relaxation Pose

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Relaxation Pose is the more important shape in restorative yoga.  If you have time for one yoga pose during your day, do this one.  Relaxation pose lowers blood pressure and heart rate, enhances immunity, helps with insomnia, reduces fatigue, releases any muscular tension and can help manage chronic pain.  This pose will neutralize energy in the body and you will not feel any stretching in the body as the goal is a complete release.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you are more than 3 months pregnant or feel any pain or discomfort.  This pose can be replaced with side-lying pose if you are unable to do this pose.

To set up this pose, you will want to have a bolster, a few blankets, eye pillow, and possibly sand bags for added weight.  Place your bolster horizontal on your mat approximately where your knees will be.  Use one blanket as a neck roll for more support.  Have another blanket handy to cover your entire body as your body temperature will drop while lying flat.  Lean back slowly to where the bolster is supporting the backs of your knees.  If your feet don’t touch the floor, place a blanket, pillow, or other support underneath them.  Place the neck roll under your neck to where your chin is slightly lower than your forehead.  If you feel any pinching in your lower back, place a folded blanket vertical under your lower back.  Place another blanket on top of your entire body.  Your arms can be out to the side palms facing up or down, whichever is more comfortable for you.  If you would like to add some weight to this pose, you can place a sandbag across your pelvis which will encourage your lower back to release.  Sandbags can be placed on each shoulder or propped on a block with the edge pressed gently on your forehead.  Lastly, place your eye pillow over your eyes to reduce stimulation.

You may began a rhythmic breath pattern or settle into your natural inhales and exhales.  A cleansing breath(inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth) may be a nice way to began the pose as it will signal to the body to relax.  You can stay in the position as long as it is comfortable.  Average time will be between 10-20 minutes as you need enough time to experience the wonderful relaxation that this pose brings.

When you are ready to come out of relaxation pose, remove your eye pillow and sandbags.  Bring some slight movement to your fingers and toes.  Roll over to your left or right side and spend several moments in a side-lying position to notice the effects of the rest.  When you are ready, use your top hand pressed into the ground to slowly and deliberately press yourself into a seated position.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.