This is not Lying Down – This is Savasana

This is not Lying Down – This is Savasana

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!)

Supported Savasna - here I'm using pillows for the pose - it's easy to improvise with cushions and blankets too

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.

365 Savasana So Far

Quarterly Check-in

In September 2014 I embarked on the 365 Savasana Project – the decision to practice Savasana for 20 minutes a day for 365 days. As we are about to embark on a new year, I also I find myself a quarter of the way through my year of daily Savasana and it feels like an ideal time to reflect on how it’s been so far. So, how has it been…?

HARD!

(I bet you didn’t expect that from a yoga teacher 🙂 ) I did not expect it to be easy but so far it certainly has been much harder than I envisaged.

The actual act of lying down is simple. It is getting there every day, regardless of what is going on that has not been easy. And that’s coming from someone who loves Savasana and Restorative Yoga. In that case, why has it been so hard?

Resistance.

This has been (and continues to be) the biggest challenge. But I refuse to throw in the towel because I know that the more I feel resistance to practising Savasana, the more I need Savasana. I always, without exception, feel better afterwards.

The busier things get, the easier it becomes to neglect self-care. Yet, that’s when we most need to take care of ourselves. That’s been my personal experience, at least. Do you relate? Do you too find that you put your own self-care on the back burner as the pace of life picks up speed? Maybe you are taking care of others or have a demanding job, or you’re running your own business? There are a multitude of reasons why self-care may inadvertently fall by the wayside, especially during periods of chronic stress.

I’ve often prided myself on how much I can achieve in a day. Getting lots done and ticking items off my to-do list (the same list that somehow continues to grow as fast as I tick things off) can bring me great satisfaction. However, I’ve learned that being busy is not all it’s cracked up to be. Slowing down and practising Savasana reminds me just how powerful doing less can be. We do not have to worship at the altar of busy. For me, the past year has brought many ups and downs, as I’m sure it has for you too. My default, when the going gets tough is to, albeit unconsciously, let my own needs slide.

Let 2015 be different.

If you haven’t started your 365 Savasana but would like to, then why not begin today? You can find more details on how to get started by clicking here. I began my 365 days in September, but there is no official start or end date and it doesn’t cost anything apart from the time you allow yourself to practise. It is not a competition. It’s really about getting into the habit of taking some time for yourself each day so that not only can you give your best, you can be at your best. So, far from being selfish, you’ll be helping those close to you too. It is a simple and wonderful way to practice self-care.

However, if 365 days of Savasana is not for you, then I still encourage you to find healthy ways to look after yourself when you feel out of balance. Having your own personalised self-care toolkit at your disposal when you most need it will serve you very well.

Let’s all make self-care a priority in 2015.

A NEW SEASON OF 3-HOUR WORKSHOPS IN BRIXTON

A NEW SEASON OF 3-HOUR WORKSHOPS IN BRIXTON

JOYFUL & OPEN: A YIN & YOGA NIDRA WORSHOP

Saturday 19th October 2019 | 2.00pm to 5.00pm | £35 / £30 concession

Venue: Yoga Point, Brixton

A portion of the proceeds from this workshop will be donated to local charity Brixton Soup Kitchen.

Starting with this Autumn Yin & Yoga Nidra workshop I will be bringing a new series of seasonal workshops to Yoga Point in Brixton. This year the duration of the workshops will be 3 hours rather than 2 which will allow for a longer yin yoga practice. And by attending these workshops you will be helping a very worthwhile local charity, Brixton Soup Kitchen.

To book your workshop place you can email me directly at ucanyoga1@gmail.com.

Here are the details for Joyful & Open: An Autumn Yin & Yoga Nidra Workshop:

In Chinese Medicine there are Five Elements that are central to nature’s cycles and are reflected in the cycles of our bodies. They are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth, and each element is connected to a specific season, organ system and emotion.

Metal is linked to Autumn and the Lungs and Large Intestine – all are about transformation. Just as Autumn is a time when nature begins to draw its energy inwards to prepare for the colder, darker months ahead, precious metals can be found deep in the earth ready to be discovered and transformed without ever losing their true essence.

Part one of this workshop will be a Lung and Large Intestine yin yoga practice, where physically the focus is on moving deeper into the connective tissues of the body (ligaments, tendons and fascia – the cling-film-like ‘tissue’ which holds our muscles together). In this slow practice, each pose typically lasts for three to five minutes.

This will prepare us for part two of the workshop – an extended yoga nidra (yogic sleep – a form of guided meditation practiced lying down that will bring you to the edge of sleep) of 45-50 minutes.

Imbalanced Lung and Large Intestine Qi (energy) can manifest as respiratory problems, sadness, fatigue, low immunity and colds. When Lung Qi is balanced we feel present, optimistic and more able to face life’s ups and downs with acceptance and courage.

NB – This workshop is open to all levels, but it is not suitable for pregnant students.

To enquire or book a place, contact Paula at ucanyoga1@gmail.com

#SavasanaSeptember

#SavasanaSeptember

Savasana for 20 minutes. Every day. For 1 month.

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?

This September marks 5 years since I embarked on my #365Savasana Project (which I wrote about at the time for OM Yoga Magazine)
when every day for 1 year I practised Savasana for 20 minutes – a slightly crazy idea which turned out to be transformative!

So this September I am going to be practising Savasana every day for 20 minutes. I’d love you to join me!

• Get comfortable using as many cushion and blankets as you need;
• Set a timer;
• Ideally cover your eyes with a soft scarf or eye pillow (as light can be an irritant);
• If your mind wanders (which is completely normal) guide your awareness to the steady rise and fall of your breath.
• Try not to judge how you are doing. Practise allowing yourself to Be.

(I think I can hear you shouting that you are too busy from here! But if you’re feeling frazzled or generally rushed off your feet it may be just what you need.)
Savasana (or Corpse Pose), lying down in a comfortable position (usually) on your back, is often described as the easiest pose to do but the most difficult to master. Lying still for twenty minutes a day may seem unimaginable. But you can start small with just a minute or two and work your way up.
A restorative Savsasna allows your body to properly rest – something we rarely experience in our day-to-day over-stimulated existence. More than a little nap, Savasana helps to shift the nervous system into the parasympathetic state (calming the ‘fight flight’ response and switching on the relaxation response)
Just some of the benefits of Savasana include:
• Promoting proper physical rest and regeneration by stimulating the ‘relaxation response’
• Improved sleep quality
• Calming a busy mind
• Lowering blood pressure

Over the course of September I’ll be sharing some tips and different Savasana variations on my Instagram account (@ucanyoga1). If you do choose to join me I would love to hear how you are finding the experience by using the #SavasanaSeptember hashtag.