Benefits of Yoga Relaxation
Why we practice relaxation in reclining pose? In Shavasana the heart is on the same level as the rest of the body. In sitting or standing poses the heart must work against gravity to pump blood to the head and return it from the feet. In the corpse pose the horizontal plane of the body makes the work of the heart easier, and the cardiovascular system rests.
Beyond the Body
As the body begins to rest, Shavasana induces a deep sense of stillness, this is not simply the result of a disciplined effort not to move. The stillness experienced in relaxation is much more profound, movements of the body involve the mind, the brain, and a number of elements within the body (nerves, muscles, bones, and joints, to name a few).
One of the most powerful tools in this process is relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing. Experientially, it takes six to seven minutes of relaxed breathing before you will feel that inner letting-go that often seems to herald the start of something deeply restful inside.
As time passes, the quiet movement of the breath will relax your nervous system and you will begin to notice a shift in the awareness you have of your own presence. Now the mind is not wandering to the past or future—disturbed by passing thoughts or feelings—or anticipating a rush of feeling that is missing from the present moment. There is a fullness in the present that requires nothing more.
Beyond the Breath
There are many versions of yoga relaxation techniques—some focusing mostly on the body, some focusing on refining the breath, and some on directing attention to the more subtle energy systems within the body. Over time, breathing practice will continually evolve, ensuring that experience relaxation in all its dimensions while gaining a working understanding of the structure of practice.
No matter which method of breathing practice given on the day, the final stage of relaxation remains essentially the same. You are breathing as if your whole body breathes, you have come to the gates of your mind, but you have arrived without the chatter of the senses to disturb you. Now you may enter into the mind itself. Soon you begin to notice, however, that it is not the breath that is really the focus of your attention, it is the mind that you are relaxing.
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