Final relaxation, also called Svasana (pronounced shavasana), allows
the body to fully integrate the physical stretches and yoga postures.
I like to end my yoga classes with Svasana, enabling students to feel
a real body/mind sense of wellbeing and peace when they leave.
It is recommended that Svasana last at least 5 minutes, more if time
allows, for the mind and body to completely relax and restore.
Typically, final relaxation is done in ‘Corpse Pose,” lying comfortably
on your back, heels on the edges of the mat, arms outstretched
a foot or more from the body, and palms facing up with eyes closed.
If this position causes discomfort, make any needed modifications
including bending the knees to rest against each other or simply
rolling onto your side in fetal position.
If thoughts arise, I coach students to notice them, without
attachment or narrative. Allow thoughts to simply drift away,
and return your focus to the breath. Notice the inhale and
exhale in your minds’ eye. Often, I suggest a word or words to
breathe in and out, employ guided visualization, and/or Yoga
Nidra (progressive relaxation of the body) to increase mind/body
relaxation. The object is to keep intrusive thoughts at bay. The
outcome is the same: peace of mind and rested body. The
restorative impact is similar to sleep, but much less time.