Sava who? Savasana. Or a pose in Yoga sometimes called the “corpse pose”. In the past, I held Yoga very low on my challenging scale. Yet I will be the first to admit that after years of active running around, doing things quickly and contact sports I thought Yoga was a joke. I was humbled, greatly at my first class several years ago. I never realized how much strength it took to ‘flow’ with Vinyasa. Or how much it took to control my breathing in Ananda. I was proven very wrong and found Yoga both mentally challenging and calming at the same time. Recently, I took to practicing the deceptively simple Savasana pose before I go to bed.
It’s quite simple in description. One lies on the floor facing up. Hands turned upward and arms away from the hips. Imagine the Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci but arms at a 45 degree angle from the body. Breathe deep in the belly, letting it rise and fall. Now stay down for more than 5 minutes. Sounds easy until you try to reach your final phase, releasing all thoughts from your mind and be in the present. Yup. Try it. How far did you get before your brain started talking at you? Getting your conscious mind to stop chattering is difficult. Add to that sitting still. I looked up benefits of Savasana on Wiki here’s what returned:
Decrease in heart rate and the rate of respiration,
Decrease in blood pressure,
Decrease in muscle tension,
Decrease in metabolic rate and the consumption of oxygen,
Reduction in general anxiety,
Reduction in the number and frequency of anxiety attacks,
Iincrease in energy levels and in general productivity,
Improvement in concentration and in memory,
Increase in focus,
Decrease in fatigue, coupled with deeper and sounder sleep, and
Immediately I thought, this is something everyone should master. Keeping still at night after a long hard day or quieting your hectic mind can be daunting. Savasana reminds me of doing a very basic meditation practice. While it is probably best to do this practice after a Yoga class like out Thursday class. It is actually something we already do. Have you ever collapsed on the floor after a hard WOD? Use that time to acknowledge that you are out of breath and thank your body and mind for getting you through the workout, lay on your back, close your eyes, feel the support of the floor, relax into it and breathe. Sure it will take practice to control your breathing and clear your mind but what great skill doesn’t take practice? Happy focus and relaxing!