Almost every yoga student looks forward to savasana. After all the physical effort, finally, at the end of class, you get to lie down and relax. It seems easy enough, but savasana is actually a very challenging yoga pose; the most difficult of all. In true savasana, both body and mind are completely quiet and still. While we can learn to relax and quiet the body, doing the same with the mind is a different matter.
Learning to Relax
It usually takes a few minutes for the body to unwind in savasana. You may think the body is relaxed, but pay close attention. Often, there is hidden tension in the shoulders and neck, mouth and jaw, hips and groins or the lower back. As you discover areas of tension, use the breath to softly release them. The hand and feet are often the last to let go. Fingers and toes may be twitching without you realizing it. Keeping the breath soft and relaxed, you may notice after a few minutes the body feels softer and more at ease.
Withdrawing the Senses
Our sensory organs, the organs of perception, naturally attune to the world around us. They are always searching for outside information and stimuli. In savasana, they need to withdraw from the outside world. The eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin must all soften and release. Letting go of their quest for external information, they begin to notice the subtle internal rhythms of the physical body.
Searching for Silence
The mind is always busy. Even when we are enjoying moments of relative quiet, there is a constant stream of thoughts moving through the mind. Sometimes the stream moves slowly; sometimes it races back and forth, splashing noisily. In savasana, we are trying to still the stream. By not engaging with thoughts that pop up in our mind, they begin to float away. Eventually, the stream begins to slow, there are fewer thoughts, they drift in and out slowly.
Even for experienced yogis, it is rare for the mind to become completely quiet, without thought. Sometimes, there will be a brief moment of complete silence between thoughts, after one leaves and before the next arrives. It is in that moment of silence, with the mind in a state of total awareness, that true savasana is achieved.
Though we may not find that moment, there is still much to gain from practicing savasana. With the mind relatively quiet and the body relaxed, we reach a place of inner comfort. Our thought patterns have less activity than usual, and we grow more comfortable with the self, our awareness stays inside. Coming out of savasana, we feel calm, content and at peace with the world.