We’ve been talking a bit about stress lately and the need for quality sleep and other habits to counter it and make ourselves more stress-resilient. Yet another means of letting go of the tension is the kind of deep relaxation that ends every yoga practice. As B.K.S. Iyengar, a well-respected yoga teacher who has played a large part in bringing yoga to the West, states, “The stresses of modern civilization are a strain on the nerves for which [deep relaxation] is the best antidote.”
Indeed, the relaxation poses that end each session of practice are often considered the most important part of yoga in that they allow the mind, body, and emotions to heal, grow, and integrate.
Here’s a sample 12 minute relaxation from Jim’s Yoga Renewal CD. As he mentions, it is to be done in “Savasana,” which is the Sanskrit name for the traditional relaxation that is done at the end of a yoga class. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides but slightly away from your body and with palms up, and let your feet fall they will to either side. Breathe deeply and slowly from your belly as you go through this guided relaxation, which can be done by itself or at the end of a full yoga session.
Yoga Renewal, designed for the beginning yoga student, is 50-minute guided practice that will take you through 15 gentle poses that will stretch and revitalize your entire body – taking the knots out of those tight shoulders, strengthening your back and abdomen, loosening up legs and hips, and relaxing your mind. It – and its musical soundtrack from the CD Anjali – are available for purchase at the Yoga Calm Store.