Sava ~ corpse
Asana ~ pose
Click here to learn more about The 365 Savasana Project
If I suggested that you put your lengthy to-do list to one side and lie down for twenty minutes right now, what would your response be?
(I think I can hear you shouting that you are too busy from here!)Maybe it would feel lazy or indulgent when you have so much to do? But I invite you to look at your life and ask what you hold most dear. Of course, we all have responsibilities and obligations we must meet. But busyness and meaning are not the same thing. It comes back to balance and being able to tune in to what your body needs.
During Savasana the parasympathetic nervous system is activated (the part of the autonomic nervous system in charge of your body’s rest and digest activities). Consequently, it is deeply nourishing and can have a regenerative effect on your entire system, far more replenishing than normal sleep.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, rushed off your feet or generally frazzled, this Supported Savasana is a good place to start. As well as helping to calm a busy mind it can make a real difference to sleep quality.
How do we get there?
In lieu of the yoga props you would find at a studio you can improvise with what you have to hand – pillows, blankets, cushions, the throw from your sofa….
(NB – I’m suggesting a version here that I find works very well, but what’s most important is that you feel comfortable, so adjust your props as much as you need to before you settle.)
Have a timer to hand that you can easily set to twenty minutes once you are settled into position.
– Create a comfortable space to lie down – if you have a yoga mat, place a blanket on top covering the surface of the mat for extra cushioning. If you don’t have a mat use extra blankets to create a thicker base
– Before you lie down, place a cushion or folded blanket for your head and neck to rest on
– Carefully, lie down on your back and place a thick rolled up blanket (or pillows / cushions under your knees). Allow your legs to relax and roll outwards.
– If you find that your heels do not touch the floor, take a rolled up bath towel (rolled onto a long ‘sausage’ shape) or cushions and place underneath your ankles for support
– Cover your eyes with an eye pillow or scarf
– Extend your arms out by your sides, palms facing up. Relax your hands – you will notice that your fingers will curl towards your palms.
From here, allow your body to be supported by the props and the ground beneath you. With each out breath visualise any remaining tension melting away. Just be here. See what happens. Notice if any resistance comes up to staying there.
If you find twenty minutes feels like it whizzes by then try thirty minutes, but if twenty minutes is way too challenging to begin with, then gradually work your way up. I’d suggest seeing if you can do this Savasana once a day for five to seven consecutive days OR you might like to try The 365 Savasana Project – click here for details. Judith Hanson Lasater, who I trained to teach Restorative Yoga with, jokes that restorative poses are magic, the magic being that they only work if you use them!
The main thing is to give it a try and to be kind to yourself along the way.