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Articles & Newsletters
published on 09/06/2006
Happy Savasana To You
Girl Scout Coordinator
I have been practicing the wonderful art of yoga now for 8 years and instructing for 5. In that time, I have come to appreciate what Yoga means and how it benefits the body. When I first began taking yoga, I was recovering from an injury and thought this would be an easy class to do for a few months until I could get back to the fast-paced step aerobics that I thought my body craved. I wanted to be the best in the yoga class and would push myself into these crazy positions seeking approval from the yoga instructor. "Look, a head stand. Look, a handstand. Now look, I can put my leg over my head"! She was not impressed.
Yoga was much more challenging than I thought and I found myself coming two to three times a week in order to push my body into these beautiful yoga positions. Then one day my yoga teacher began adding "Savasana" to her yoga practice. This is a 5-minute relaxation time at the end of yoga where you are supposed to completely relax and clear your mind. "What is this savasana thing?" I would ask. "It is where you are supposed to clear your mind and lay still and just enjoy to moment of stillness," she would say. What? What kind of position is THAT? Well - I rolled up my mat and looked around and thought - well you people must have a lot of time to waste if you are coming to the gym and then sitting around relaxing. I've got better things to do.
So at the end of every class - I quietly rolled up my mat and made a quick excuse about picking up kids or having a appointment and slipped out of class before the lights went down low and the soft music came on. One day I asked my yoga teacher before class to help me in attaining a certain Ashtanga position. I said, " This is the hardest position for me to do". My yoga teacher said, "No it isn't, Savasana is the hardest position for you to do." Hmm. Was she right? Could I not do the ultimate yoga position called savasana? Surely I could lie perfectly still for 5 minutes on a mat, couldn't I? I mean what could possibly be hard about lying still for 5 minutes?
So I gave it a try. It about killed me the first time I did it and I thought the 5 minutes was torture. I stayed for this "savasana position" for the next 4 months. It took 2 months for my body to be able to lie still and then another two months for my mind to be quiet and still. Then one day "savasana" came to me on a beautiful afternoon. I remember it well. I was following cues from the teacher and trying to relax my body and let it "float" when I thought I almost fell asleep! Wow! I actually felt more energized afterwards.
It took me almost 2 years to be able to enjoy the benefits of Savasana.
I now teach it in every class and express the importance of clearing the mind and stilling the body. Yoga is about stretching and relaxing the body at the same time, a very hard concept for most people to achieve. But the older we get, the more we can appreciate the benefits of relaxing the mind and calming the body. So I invite you to enjoy the benefits of yoga, the entire class, including savasana!
What are the benefits of yoga?
*It helps to improve your balance - There are a significant number of balancing poses in yoga. By having a greater sense of balance, you are able to move more easily and safely.
*Yoga improves your flexibility – The stretching that you engage in during every practice helps lengthen and stretch muscles, which helps reduce the risk of injuries.
*Yoga can help reduce pain - Tense muscles often contribute to pain.
Relaxing muscles helps to minimize muscle tension and the pain that is associated with it. Also, breathing deeply into muscles helps alleviate pain by altering your perception of it. Yoga can be an effective way to minimize back pain.
*It tones your muscles – Yoga works all the muscles in your body. It helps strengthen and tone muscles and also builds endurance and stamina.
*It helps to increase your level of energy – Carrying tension in your body takes an enormous toll on your energy reserves. By learning how to relax through your yoga practice, you benefit by enjoying higher levels of energy so you can more thoroughly enjoy your daily activities.
*Yoga helps promote a sense of relaxation – Breathing deeply, as practiced in yoga, helps relax your muscles and also brings much needed oxygen to your cells. The deep sense of relaxation also leads to better quality sleep. Anyone can begin yoga at anytime because the verbal cues are easy to follow – even if you have never done yoga before. So why not give it a try and see how you can change your life for the better!
Happy Savasana to you!
Lynn Talbott is a mother of two teenagers, yoga instructor, small business consultant and Service Unit Manager for Girl Scouts of Signal Mountain. In her spare time, she likes to travel, ride horses, run a Girl Scout Summer camp and help work with the Sequatchie cove organic co-op. You might see her on her scooter around town with a big smile on her face! She enjoys surprising the kids at SMMS by showing up during their PE class to teach them yoga. She is currently teaching mixed-level Yoga at Bachman Community Center at 9:00 on Tuesdays and Thursday and welcomes new yogis at any time. She is available for private or semi private sessions of Yoga at all levels. She can be reached at .