The Most Underrated Asana: Savasana 

“Lie down, close your eyes and relax” – the words we all look forward to hearing at the end of the class, meaning we’ve worked through some sun salutations, practiced asanas and are ready to rest. After getting into a comfortable position, taking a cleansing breath or maybe an audible exhale, we find ourselves in savasana, also known as corpse pose.

I think savasana is perhaps the easiest asana to perform but one of the most difficult to master, a form of conscious surrender. In today’s fast-paced society, people are so used to instant gratification and efficiency, where we want effects of our actions to be nearly immediate, thus find it hard to take a moment to slow down. I know I definitely do, where I used to really struggle just lying still for a few minutes and always had the urge to fidget. Even when I did self-practice, I often left out savasana because I wanted to get back to my day instead of lying around. On the other side of the spectrum, some find themselves falling asleep, where they let go and lose focus, enjoying the pose a little too much.

However, savasana has many benefits both physiologically and psychologically. It is an opportunity for us to physically and mentally relax each part of the body, usually starting from the feet up. By taking time in savasana, we can absorb the energy from the physical asanas and dissolve any tension in our muscles, letting our body recover and rest, as well as taking a mental inventory and checking in with how our body feels. Besides that, we can allow our parasympathetic system to take over, where we can slow down our respiratory rate and heart rate, and give our bodies time for them both to return to resting rate. Although the autonomic system usually works unconsciously, in savasana we can consciously notice and register how our breath and heartbeat is slowing down, and in that way, feel more relaxed.

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Insomnia No More

Through the last six weeks, aside from improving on my asana practice, increasing my stamina and flexibility, I have seen the hundreds of ways through which everything is linked, through this, I have stumbled upon my cure to insomnia.
Its come to me in bits an pieces throughout the course and ranges from mantra usage, pranayamas, knowledge gained from anatomy classes as well as asanas and their sequencing.
I will briefly describe each method which I have adopted from the last 6 weeks and been putting into practice. (In the order that I do them)
1)From Mantras: Chanting of the Shanthi Mantra when ready for bed. This causes the energy to contract back to the source within, thus pulling back into yourself.
2)From Pranayamas: Either Chandraloma or IN:Ret:EX to the ratio of 1:1:1 to the count of 20.
3)Asanas: Initially, I had my own haphazard pick of asanas which I would do prior to sleeping, these would include, Halasana, Uttanasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Viparita Karani and Supta Baddha Konasana. Until I realized… We have a perfectly arranged sequence right in front of us!! Which has been in practice for almost a century!( And thats only since it was passed down to Pattabhi Jois!) The finishing sequence. (As Utpluthih uses kappalabhati, and I find that too energizing, I personally stop at Padmasana and move straight into Savasana)
4)From the active meditation sequence: Lying on your back, with your eyes wide open. Rotation your as far out as possible, in a clockwise direction (50x) followed by anticlockwise (50x)
5)Yoga Nidra : The breathing and auto suggestions to self to induce a relaxed and restful state conducive to sleep.
From lessons on the Nervous System: Links become obvious from above mentioned methods to its affects on the parasympathetic response/state.
Mayuri Punjabi