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Yoga Nidra (Long Savasana)

for Stress and Relaxation

by nitya

Savasana is a deep relaxation technique that allows an individual to experience the deepest states of themselves. It is one of the best remedies for the modern world's problems. This simple and easy technique will help to lead one towards the real nature of our own self. As we grow into adulthood our lives become more complex with increased responsibilities. As a result, we forget the natural way of relaxation. Children and animals can relax easily. Adults always leave relaxation for tomorrow or the weekend. In a calm, waveless lake, we can look deep into the distant bottom. Similarly in a calm body-mind state we can move deep into the subconscious mind where all of our past experiences are stored. Beyond the subconscious mind is the source of our own real nature. It is related to the whole Universe. The oneness. The oneness is in all. The goal of savasana is to realize and be one with this Oneness.

 

Once we are separated from the Samadhi (supercouncious state), our soul identifies with the ego. This identification with ego is individual. It results in happiness and sorrow, life and death, and all human emotions. All of this is stored in our sub-conscious mind. Savasana helps us to face the sub-conscious mind and to keep it calm. As we move deep into Savasana, we move away from time and space. We will be fully aware yet the mind will remain calm and still. In Savasana no Prana (energy) is consumed other than the amount which is used to keep the body in a normal state. The body is able to store a large amount of Prana. We lose a lot of energy while we work. We may not like Monday but we love Friday night. The continuous loss of energy creates tensions. This tension is ultimately a disturbance of the energy flow in the subtle system. In relaxation, when the disturbed thought waves are reduced, the energy will flow in complete harmony, resulting in peace, calm and increased concentration. The harmony will bring to us good thoughts and vice-versa good thoughts will bring peace and harmony.

 

In our physical system, the disturbance of energy flow manifests itself as tension and strain. Muscles contract. Blood circulation slows. Breathing is rapid and quick. Energy is not able to flow through the nervous system easily. We loose complete energy. The lack of energy will cause a build up of toxins. These toxins will not be released completely from the body because the energy channels will be blocked and this will result in an accumulation of toxins. However the body will try to relax itself. We may even go to sleep, but even sleeping is not able to release this tension. In sleep we are not increasing the build up of tension nor are we releasing it. In relaxation, however, we are able to release tension. Our blood circulation and breathing will be normal. We develop and save energy. Our ancient Yogis say 10 or 20 minutes of savasana is equal to 8 hours sleep. While in Karma yoga, the yoga of action, through the work we may lose energy, but because of the love and the surrender we also gain a lot of energy.

 

Emotions and feelings are other channels through which one loses energy (Prana). Our senses are constantly stimulated by outside objects. Once we allow our senses to be attracted to a sense object, then desires begin to grow. When these desires and wants are fulfilled we feel happy. If they are not fulfilled, we feel unhappy .Unhappiness brings anger and hate. Uncontrollable emotions such as anger deplete Prana almost immediately. Nothing can help this person; not even a balanced diet or vitamins. All emotions, worries and anxieties are from the thoughts in our mind. In relaxation, we learn to withdraw our energy from our senses. The Prana or energy is turned inward. Our senses will be controlled, leading to the next step of Yoga, Prathyahara. Thoughts will be reduced. All our physical disorders or diseases can be reduced by savasana. Physical conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, and migraine headaches can all be helped by relaxation. The technique to practice while you are in relaxation is to keep your awareness on the disordered place of the body and heal yourself with positive energy. Healing our self is a wonderful art.

 

Our bodies are nothing but the physical form of our mind. Knowingly or unknowingly,each thought is affecting our physical body. The body is completely prepared to do whatever the mind commands. In the beginning of savasana, we may not realize this. So it is necessary and beneficial to continue to tell our bodies what to do and to observe and be aware of our own body. Once we have become skilled in the art of relaxation, a single thought or command is enough to take us into deep relaxation. The body will automatically follow the mind's command. Once we have learned the techniques of relaxation, it is very easy. This healing process can even be used for your emotions. It is about developing a trust within. It is not at all self-hypnosis, it is auto-suggestion. We can practice this for deeper relaxation. It will help us to have a good relaxation and to keep total awareness of our body systems, increasing our concentration, memory power and developing our will.

 

Once we start practicing savasana there can be many experiences. We may feel lazy, calm, happy or unhappy. We must leave everything for a while. All our past experiences can come back to us. We must release ourselves for a while and be free to experience, and not judge, but simply observe our bodies and accept what happens. Occasionally we may not be able to relax in savasana because we may feel we are wasteing our time. Future plans can bombard our minds and we may feel that these plans are more important than closing our eyes and relaxing. All of these problems will vanish once we attain savasana. Another common complaint from people about savasana is feeling uncomfortable in the posture. To avoid this problem, simply practice in a clean place with a clean body and using a clean sheet. For deep relaxation it is not recommended to practice in bed or on a thick mattress. If you can turn the phone off and avoid any other sudden noises, it will be easier to have a sound relaxation. Don't allow yourself to go to sleep. If you feel sleepy, concentrate on deep breathing. We should always come out of relaxation very slowly. To jump up suddenly from savasana is not healthy. We should wake up slowly and first becoming aware of our breath. Taking a few deep breaths and slowly bringing our awareness to our fingers and toes, then gently moving the limbs and increasing the feeling and awareness throughout our whole body and finally give a good stretch to our body. Then come up slowly to any easy sitting posture. The Hatha yoga prathipika, one of the great texts of Hatha Yoga says, "Savasana removes fatigue and anxiety and brings peace and calm".

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