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Savasana is the final resting posture in a yoga session. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word "shava," which means "corpse." To perform the Savasana pose, lie on your back, close your eyes, and spread your arms and legs apart. Keep your eyes closed. Your palms should face upwards. The Savasana posture brings closure to your yoga session, promotes deep relaxation, and helps your body and mind assimilate the previous yoga poses so you can reap their many benefits.
Your body develops the habit of holding certain muscular and skeletal tensions -- and the yoga postures help release them. The strenuous exertions of various poses during your yoga session twist, stretch, invert and contract your muscles and tendons. However, during Savasana, you mentally scan all parts of your body for any remaining muscular tension -- and then consciously release any tension that's found, often by briefly tensing that muscle even more and then releasing it, which promotes even deeper relaxation.
After a yoga session focusing on the body, your focus during Savasana turns inward as the mind is free from sensory distractions. Your entire body should remain relaxed, while your awareness remains on the abdomen and chest rising and falling with each breath. Continue to inhale and exhale from the nostrils in a rhythmic pattern, which further aids in directing your attention internally and calming the mind.
Savasana can have restorative benefits, helping rejuvenate both the body and mind. The act of relaxing in yoga and meditation makes your body release certain brain signals and chemicals that slow down organs and muscles, increasing blood floor to your brain, according to the University of Michigan. Relaxing can also help lower blood pressure, as well as help reduce anxiety, pain, stress hormone levels, irritability and muscle tension. Yoga Journal reports that Savasana also helps relieve mild depression, headaches, fatigue and insomnia.
When performing Savasana, make sure the surface on which you're lying is flat and firm. Although Savasana is a pose of total relaxation, you shouldn't fall asleep. Keep your mind aware and alert while in this yoga pose. A restless mind and sleepiness can prevent you from obtaining the benefits of Savasana. If you find yourself becoming sleepy, take longer and more frequent breath inhalations. If you're feeling restless, focus on your breathing or any body sensations to stop your mind from wandering.