Savasana, also known as Corpse Pose, is a critical component of yoga practice, often performed at the end of a yoga session. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words "Shava" (meaning "corpse") and "Asana" (meaning "pose" or "posture"), reflecting the pose's mimicry of a peaceful and deep rest. Savasana is considered the most essential part of yoga practice despite its simplicity and the fact that it involves minimal physical effort. Here's why:

Purpose and Benefits

  • Physical Relaxation: Savasana allows the body to relax and release tension built up during the yoga session. It helps to calm the whole system.

  • Mental Relaxation: It will enable the mind to settle and become aware of the present moment. It's a practice of deep rest that can lead to a meditative state.

  • Integration: Savasana gives the body and mind time to process and integrate the benefits of the yoga practice, allowing for a more profound sense of well-being.

  • Consistent engagement in Savasana can alleviate stress and anxiety, decrease blood pressure, and enhance sleep quality.

  • Spiritual Awakening: For some, Savasana can be a profoundly spiritual experience, providing insights and a sense of interconnectedness with the universe.

How to Practice Savasana

  1. Lie on your yoga mat, legs spread slightly apart, arms at your sides, palms facing upward, and eyes closed.

  2. Relax your entire body, including your face. Let your feet drop open, and breathe deeply and slowly through your nostrils.

  3. Scan your body mentally from head to toe, consciously releasing any tension you detect.

  4. Stay in the pose for around 30 minutes, letting your body and mind completely relax.

  5. To exit the pose, first, deepen your breath. Then, gently move your fingers and toes, awakening your body. Roll onto one side in a fetal position for a few moments before sitting up.

Tips for a Better Savasana

  • Use props such as a rolled blanket under the knees or a bolster under the legs for additional support if you find it uncomfortable to lie flat.

  • Cover yourself with a blanket if you tend to get cold.

  • If you find it hard to relax, focus on your breath or use guided imagery.

Common Misconceptions

  • It's just lying down: While it might look like merely lying on the floor, achieving a state of deep rest in Savasana requires practice and mindfulness.

  • It's easy: For many, stilling the mind and fully relaxing the body can be challenging, especially in a world filled with constant stimulation.

In summary, Savasana is more than just a rest at the end of a yoga class; it's a powerful practice for rejuvenating the mind, body, and spirit. Regular exercise can deepen your yoga practice and contribute to overall wellness.

Psychological and Physiological Aspects

  • The body attains a significant level of rest in the profound relaxation reached through practices such as Savasana or meditation. This profound state of relaxation results in lowered cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and a rise in endorphins, the body's innate chemicals that relieve pain and enhance mood. Consequently, these physiological shifts can lead to sensations of buoyancy and profound happiness. As a result of these changes, individuals may experience feelings of weightlessness and intense joy.

  • Altered State of Consciousness: Such deep relaxation can lead to the state of consciousness. With the physical body at rest and the mind quieted from its usual chatter, one's sense of physical boundaries can blur, creating a feeling of merging with the surroundings or floating.

  • Dissociation: This experience can involve a form of benign dissociation, where there is a temporary disconnection between the physical sensation of the body and the mind's awareness. It's a state where the mind becomes a passive observer of the body, leading to the success of floating or flying.

Spiritual and Metaphysical Interpretations

  • Astral Projection: Some interpret this sensation of floating or feeling light as an astral projection or out-of-body experience, where one's consciousness is believed to temporarily separate from the physical body and explore the astral plane.

  • Spiritual Elevation: In many spiritual traditions, such experiences are seen as moments of deep connection with the universal consciousness or the divine, reflecting a state of enlightenment or spiritual awakening.

Achieving This State

To achieve this state of profound relaxation and the accompanying sensation of lightness or floating, here are a few practices and tips:

  • Regular Meditation and Yoga Practice: Consistency in meditation and yoga, especially those focusing on deep breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation, can cultivate this experience.

  • Visualization Techniques: During relaxation or meditation, visualization techniques, such as imagining oneself floating on clouds or gently rising above the ground, can enhance the sensation.

  • Create a Supportive Environment: A quiet, comfortable space where you feel safe and undisturbed can facilitate more profound relaxation.

It's essential to approach these experiences openly and without specific expectations, as they are highly personal and vary widely in intensity and form. Whether understood through the lens of psychology, physiology, spirituality, or a combination, such profound states of relaxation and their accompanying sensations underscore the deep connection between mind, body, and perhaps something beyond.

The Restorative Power of Savasana

Savasana is a profoundly relaxing pose designed to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. It helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and improve mental clarity. The relaxation achieved in Savasana is profound, often leading practitioners to feel refreshed and revitalized as if they had taken a short nap.

Comparing Savasana to Sleep

  • Physiological Benefits: While Savasana offers significant benefits, including reduced muscle tension, decreased stress and anxiety levels, and improved concentration, sleep is a complex physiological process essential for health. During sleep, the body undergoes various critical functions, including muscle repair, memory consolidation, and regulating hormones that control growth and appetite.

  • REM and Deep Sleep: Sleep cycles include REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and stages of non-REM sleep, during which the body and brain go through different recovery and rejuvenation processes. These cycles are crucial for emotional regulation, cognitive function, and physical health.

The Claim of Equivalency

  • The claim that 30 minutes of Savasana can be equivalent to 6-8 hours of sleep is likely metaphorical, emphasizing the pose's effectiveness in providing deep rest in a relatively short period. It's not meant to be taken literally, as sleep and Savasana serve different physiological and psychological functions.

  • Evidence and Experience: While there is anecdotal evidence from practitioners about the profound restfulness and rejuvenation experienced during Savasana, scientific research directly comparing the benefits of Savasana to a whole night's sleep is limited. However, studies on meditation and relaxation techniques, including yoga, suggest significant benefits for stress reduction, mental health, and overall well-being.

Practical Application

Practising Savasana can be a powerful tool for relaxation and stress management and can complement a healthy sleep routine, but it should not be seen as a substitute for sleep. Both deep relaxation techniques and sufficient sleep are essential components of a balanced lifestyle for optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.

In summary, while 30 minutes of Savasana can offer profound rest and rejuvenation, suggesting it is equivalent to 6-8 hours of sleep may be an oversimplification. Both practices are valuable, with unique benefits that contribute to overall well-being.

Understanding Body Frequency in Savasana

In yoga and meditation, "frequency" often refers to the vibrational energy or state of consciousness rather than a physical measurement. Savasana is designed to relax the body, reducing physical and mental activity. This reduction in activity can lower what might be considered the "frequency" of one's consciousness, moving it from the alertness of wakefulness towards the restfulness of sleep.

The Transition from Wakefulness to Sleep

During Savasana, practitioners aim to relax deeply while remaining aware, leading to a state similar to the hypnagogic phase—the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. In this phase, people often experience vivid imagery, creative thoughts, and a sense of floating or detachment from the physical body. These sensations are attributed to the brain entering a theta wave state, associated with deep relaxation, meditation, and the early stages of sleep.

Astral Traveling and Consciousness

Astral travelling, or astral projection, refers to the experience of the consciousness or "astral body" travelling outside the physical body to explore the astral plane or other dimensions. It's a concept found in various spiritual traditions and metaphysical beliefs. Practitioners who achieve a deeply relaxed yet conscious state in Savasana sometimes report experiences resembling astral projection, where they feel like they are floating or travelling outside their bodies.

Staying Awake at Low Frequency

The challenge and goal for those interested in experiencing astral travel during Savasana is maintaining awareness while the body enters a state of deep relaxation or "low frequency." This requires a delicate balance of relaxing the physical body while keeping the mind awake and alert. It's a skill that can be developed with practice, often involving techniques to focus the mind, such as visualization, controlled breathing, or concentration on a specific point or mantra.

Practical Considerations

  • Skill Development: Achieving the right state for astral travelling involves developing deep relaxation and mental focus skills. Practising regularly and gradually deepening one's meditation and relaxation techniques is often recommended.

  • Safety and Grounding: It's essential to approach these practices with a sense of grounding and centring, especially when exploring states of consciousness that involve experiences like astral projection.

  • Subjective Experiences: Astral travel experiences are highly subjective and can vary widely among individuals. They are often influenced by one's beliefs, expectations, and the ability to relax deeply while maintaining consciousness.

In summary, Savasana offers a unique opportunity to explore deep states of relaxation and altered states of consciousness. For those interested in metaphysical experiences such as astral travelling, maintaining awareness at a "low frequency" during Savasana can be a gateway to these experiences. However, it's essential to approach such practices with mindfulness, patience, and an openness to the subjective nature of these experiences.