by YMCA Yoga Instructor Sheri Huston
Yoga and the Importance of Savasana
There are many, many types of yoga. Bikram has recently made the headlines as its founder, Mr. Choudury, struggles with certain allegations. Bikram is also called hot yoga and the heat is upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not be for everyone... Then there is Yin which is not heated and you hold the stretches for up to 20 minutes, generally not breaking a sweat. However, both forms of yoga agree on how you conclude your practice -- with Savasana or "Corpse Pose."
Yoga is a blending of mind, body and spirit. So the benefits of Savasana include benefits to all three. The physical benefits include reduced blood pressure, help for headaches and fatigue and allowing the time for the body to integrate the work performed so you optimize the poses or the stress of the muscles or soft tissue. Benefits for the mind will include enhanced concentration, reduced stress and assist with mild depression. And then there is the spirit... Savasana allows rejuvenatation and a pause for the nervous system which can go in to a parasympathetic state as you relax. Additionally, the energy you created during the practice draws inward from the extremities.
In most forms of exercise, the theory is to stress and then rest. This holds true in yoga. You stress the mind and the body during the practice and then you rest both during savasana.
To reap the benefits takes practice. This is a pose just like all the other poses. Most critical may be that you are in a comfortable position. Discomfort will find you fidgety and not able to let go and just be. Your instructor will provide suggestions on how to close out your practice. As always, it is still up to you to know your body and adjust accordingly.