The best posture for relaxation is Savasana – also known as the corpse pose and sometimes written as Shavasana. This pose is thought to enhance the body’s innate ability to heal and rejuvenate itself. It is usually practised at the end of a yoga session to allow the body to reset itself, however it is equally effective as a means to promote deep relaxation for those who suffer from anxiety and stress. Studies confirm that yoga alleviates back pain and reduces stress.
- Find a warm space without distractions.
- Lie down flat on your back.
- Separate your legs to about hip width. Let your feet flop open to the sides.
- Rest your arms alongside your thighs, but slightly separated from your torso. Turn your palms upwards, with fingers relaxed and curled in.
- Now lying comfortably, release any effort from holding your limbs in position. Relax your whole body, including your face. Let your body feel heavy.
- With your eyes closed, observe your natural breath. Feel it come in through the nose and reach the back of your throat.
- Move your awareness to the chest and feel it expanding slowly, rib by rib as the breath flows into your ribcage.
- Then bring your awareness to the abdomen and notice how it expands as the breath comes in.
- Slowly allow the breath to leave your body as the abdomen falls – the rib-cage and chest empty and your awareness of your natural breath continues.
- Repeat for a few minutes while focusing on your natural relaxed breathing rhythm.
- If your mind wanders, you can bring your attention to your breath but try to just notice it, not deepen it.
- Stay for a minimum of at least five minutes, longer is better. If you are practicing at home, set an alarm so that you are not compelled to keep checking the time.
- To come out – first begin to deepen your breath. Then begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, slowly reawakening your body.
- Stretch your arms overhead for a full body stretch from hands to feet.
- Bring your knees into your chest and roll over to one side, keeping your eyes closed. Use your bottom arm as a pillow while you rest in a foetal position for a few breaths.
- Using your hands for support, bring yourself back up into a sitting position.
You can use props if necessary to increase your comfort and make Savasana more relaxing.
- If you have lower back problems, a rolled blanket or bolster under your knees helps bring the pelvis into a more comfortable position.
- If the room is a little chilly, it’s difficult to relax so cover up first with something warm – a jumper, socks or a blanket should do the trick.