A few simple movements that make savasana even more satisfying, either at home or in the studio….
Rather than thinking of savasana as the end of practice, approach it as the beginning of a process, an “internal asana”. The process has three steps:
….silence the body, then…
….silence the mind , then…
….observe your inner experience when the body and mind are silent.
What follows are some tips for the very first step. Give them a try at home – you may find that the other two steps flow naturally afterward.
1. Loosen any tight clothing and remove any constricting accessories like belts. Remove glasses and hearing aids which, by drawing your senses toward the exterior world, tend to prevent your attention from turning inward.
2. Sit on the floor with knees bent, buttocks and feet on the floor.
3. Lie down, keeping your knees bent.
4. Use your hands to smooth the flesh of your buttocks toward your feet, relaxing the muscles of the buttocks and lower back.
5. One at a time, straighten each leg, place it on the floor, and then relax it.
6. Bring the feet together. Extend through the outer edges of the heels and then let your feet fall outward
7. Extend the chest. (The process below releases the the chest and expands the ribcage, making the breath even more delicious during savasana.)
….Wrap your arms around your chest.
….Reach your fingers all the way around to your shoulderblades.
….Bring your attention to your upper spine on the floor.
….On either side of the spine, pin the bottom corners of your shoulderblades on the floor
….Release your hands and let your shoulders roll outward and toward the floor.
….Feel your chest expand from the center of your ribs to the outer edges of your shoulders.
8.Place your arms on the floor at a 15 to 20 degree angle from your body, palms facing upward.
….Extend the arms and hands
….Bending the arms at the elbows, bring the hands up to touch the tops of the shoulders.
….Extend the elbows downward toward the feet.
….Keeping the whole upper arm in contact with the floor, lower the forearms and the hands to the floor.
….Observe your hands and fingers, consciously relaxing them.
Let your breath and awareness irrigate every cell in your body, relaxed and spread out like a field in the spring sunlight. As your mind begins to mirror the stillness in your body, notice whether there are any momentary pauses in the chattering of your thoughts. If there is, observe what is there when your mind is quiet….
(adapted from Light on Pranayama, by B.K.S. Iyengar)