Yoga relaxation practice for all seasons
November flew by and I missed blogging last month, but here we are in mid December with Christmas soon upon us! It can be a time of mixed emotions, this process of wrapping up (no pun intended) the year. Yes, there is the excitement and anticipation of having a holiday break with the upside of giving and receiving gifts. But there is a lot to organize, to think about, to pay for, all of which can be quite stressful and anxiety-inducing. And as another year comes to an end, sometimes a sense of loss can surface – a by-product of change, of shifts. Perhaps even directly if we have lost someone or something important (eg job), recently or in the past. It can be a time for reflection.
So whether you are feeling up or down (or both!) at the moment, there is a yoga practice we can do that can give us a sense of calm and peace: shavasana, corpse pose (Shav means corpse). This posture is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a key text on hatha yoga in yogic literature written by Yogi Swatmarama around 1350 AD. Verse 32 states:
Lying flat on the ground with the face upwards, in the manner of a dead body, is shavasana. It removes tiredness and enables the mind (and whole body) to relax.
The book says that when the body is completely relaxed, awareness of the mind develops. This is because shavasana allows impressions in the subconscious to surface, which means the waking consciousness can switch off, can subside. In this way, the pose revitalizes the entire system even though you are not physically moving. That makes shavasana beneficial for all states of health, good news!
To find this posture, you lie down flat on your back (on a yoga mat if you have one) with feet hip width apart and arms at a slight distance from your side with palms facing up. Make sure the head, back and legs are aligned and not off centre. If you have a "tweaky" lower back, then put a bolster or a rolled blanket underneath your knees to take the pressure off. Breathe naturally in and out of the nose. You’ll find that keeping the mind chatter quiet can be quite challenging – relaxing completely is harder than you think! So I have made two relaxation tracks lasting just over 10 minutes each, on my MB Yoga Wellness YouTube channel, just click on these links:
Circle of Awareness
Relax and enjoy! And have a joyful Christmas and New Year!