#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.

Soothe Your Nervous System with Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Soothe Your Nervous System with Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

 

Nadi – ‘channel’ or ‘flow’

Shodhana – ‘purification’

Alternate Nostril Breathing is a simple yet effective pranayama (breathing) practice. Soothing for the nervous system, alternate nostril breathing is said to help relieve stress and anxiety and lower the heart rate among other benefits. It is also helpful to practice before bedtime if you have difficulty getting to sleep.

If my head feels all over the place (often if I’ve been trying to do too many things at once!) I find this practice helpful to calm my mind. You can also practise *Mental Alternate Nostril breathing (i.e. not using your hands).

Usually this is practiced with breath retention, but you can choose to focus on just the inhales and exhales through each nostril instead.

How to practice Alternate Nostril Breathing (NB – the instructions below are without breath retention):

  1. Sit comfortably with a tall spine
  2. Rest your left hand comfortably on your left knee (as pictured) or lap
  3. Place your right index and middle fingers lightly between your eyebrows. You will be using your right thumb and right ring finger to open and close the nostrils.
  4. With eyes closed or gaze softened to one spot, take a deep breath in and out through both nostrils (you can take a few deep breaths here).
  5. Softly close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly and steadily through your left nostril.
  6. Close your left nostril (with your right ring finger) and release closure of your right nostril. Exhale slowly and steadily through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Close your right nostril (with your right thumb) and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.

This completes 1 round. Repeat this for 5-10 rounds, focussing on your inhales and exhales. When you are finished. Rest both arms and breathe in and out normally for a few breaths.

*NB – I have a recorded a Mental Alternate Nostril Breathing audio to guide you through your practice, available here.