Recently a person I met expressed an interest in Yoga. His concern was how Yoga can help induce sleep. A great question! I was not able at that time to show him the
The last pose in every Yoga class is “Savasana” also called “Corpse Pose.” This pose is wonderful to do whenever the body/mind is exhausted. There are several ways to initiate the posture, such as fully reclining or placing a block under the back of the waist just above the buttocks. The block can be standing up long ways or on the side, whichever feels most comfortable. The feet can also have a pillow under them to prop them up. Lengthen the torso and spread the arms behind the head. Just relax and deeply breathe.
Going through these procedures are essential to do all postures and master the practice of relaxing. How deeply and slowly we breathe is a way to clear the mind and body of toxins. Deep breathing in “Corpse Pose,” releases tension in the whole torso as all thoughts are stilled. When learning how to relax the mind/body, begin at the top of the head and just sink into the floor as you lie on your back. This practice can be done anywhere without necessarily lying on the floor. If you are sitting at a desk, you simply pause, close the eyes, rest the feet flat on the floor and take a deep breath. Rest the back of the hands on the knees. Keep the eyes gently closed and the restless mind quiet. As you release the tension in your face, let the eyeballs sink down into the eye sockets. Relax the temples and forehead. Release and relax the skin on the bridge of the nose. Travel down the face and relax the cheeks, releasing them away from the eyes. Relax the jaws, as you slightly adjust the lower jaw with a little space from the upper jaw. Avoid creating tension. Keep the tongue quiet and loose as it rests on the lower palate. Quietly observe your deep breathing, slow and steady. Observe the steady rhythm of your breath as you deepen each inhale and lengthen each exhale.
Relaxation is “learned.” We learn how to release the restlessness and nervous, frenzied thoughts absorbed from the world. We do have control of the energy of our thoughts.
As you breathe, keep the chin resting towards the chest if you are laying down on your full torso. If sitting, focus on relaxing the tongue, keeping the breath soft and quiet. The mind is restless if we let the world capture our thoughts. Savansana and Pranayama teach us how to take control of our mind/body without inducing tension.
It may seem strange but through this technique we are teaching ourself to go inward in silence and stillness. Agitating thoughts must be released as part of the practice. Gaze quietly inward as you slowly create a state of harmony. Each time frustrating “thoughts” get in the way, visualize them floating out of the mind on a little cloud into the ethers.
Every thought and action begins in the mind. We have control over our thoughts, so think and create harmony.
Savasana sounds easy. It is easy, once we learn how to use the breath to free the mind of tension from thoughts. When you finish laying quietly on the floor, slowly turn the body on the side and pull the knees to the chest. If sitting, simply bend the knees and hold the seated position with eyes closed for several minutes before slowly standing. You can also stand, turn your back to the wall and just lean against it to slowly gain balance.
Practice this Pranayama breathing anytime when you want to reduce tension and anxiety. Pranayama breathing and Savasana are much needed in this hectic world. Return to “bliss” through this Yoga practice.