Anatomy for Yogis Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Guided Savasana

15 min - Practice


Allow yourself to let go of any effort or tension, and to experience profound rest. Arturo guides us through Savasana (Corpse Pose), or final relaxation, to help us access a place where we feel safe and can rest deeply. You will feel relaxed and recharged.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket

About This Video

Feb 24, 2015
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Hi, welcome back. It's Arturo, and we're going to spend some time doing Shavasana, a guided final relaxation. But first I want to talk a little bit about the importance of the final relaxation. The... It's real briefly, if we look, think about our brain, our brain, especially the lower centers of our brain, the primitive parts of our brain, are constantly monitoring the environment, asking one question. Am I safe? Am I safe? Am I safe? Am I safe?

Constantly checking out if we're safe or not safe. And when the answer to that question is, no, I'm not safe, then there's a whole cascade of responses, often called the fight-or-flight response. Makes your heart beat faster, makes your digestion shut down, makes the breath come shallower and more rapid, increases muscle tension, everything getting you ready to fight or flee. Those are all great responses to have in the short term, but what ends up happening is the question, am I safe, is answered with a no that gets stuck on for weeks, months, years, decades, sometimes entire lifetimes. And when that no is stuck on, then those short-term responses start to head us into long-term diseases, things like problems with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, heart disease, digestive shutdown, you can also have anxiety and insomnia, asthma, all sorts of problems that start to show up with the long-term no response.

So ideally we get to practice getting to yes. Our culture really likes us to function on the no side of things. You get a lot stuff done when you're in the fight-or-flight response. But we don't want to be stuck there. We want to be able to get to the yes answer to that question, am I safe? Yes, I'm safe. And that brings a whole different cascade of responses, sometimes called the rest and digest response, where the heart rate decreases, the breath becomes deeper, the digestion increases, and you've probably noticed that when you're receiving a massage, 20 minutes into the massage, your stomach starts gurgling. That's a good sign. It means you're relaxing. And that's why practicing the final relaxation, Shavasana, is such an important part of the yoga practice, because it's practicing getting to that yes, getting to that place where we recognize that we're safe and we can resonate with that safety and relax deeply and truly recover our juiciness, recharge our batteries. So, the first part of the final relaxation is getting into a comfortable position. It's best to do this lying down, and if you're comfortable with your knees bent, bringing a pillow or a bolster underneath your knees so that your hips can relax, and then bringing a blanket or a pillow underneath the neck and head, and then come to lay on your back.

As you start to settle in, close your eyes and take a few minutes to really tune into the comfort in your body. Maybe you need to shift and reposition the arms, bringing the arms a little further out or a little closer in. Maybe a little shift of the low back if there's any pinchiness or compression in the low back, tucking the tailbone and then setting the hips down, can ease pressure in the low back, and checking in with the position of the head and neck, gently rocking the head, making sure the head pillow, the head support is in that best possible place. And as you start to arrive into your best, most easy, comfortable pose, bring your awareness to your body print, how you're making contact with the earth right now. And notice the right shoulder, left shoulder, notice where there's weight into the earth and where maybe the shoulder is suspended, held a little away from resting into the earth.

Feel your hips and low back, the weight of your legs, resting into the pillow or bolster, so your knees can relax, the quads can relax, your feet can get heavy, and your feet may roll out, the legs may roll out a little bit, that's fine, just let yourself completely relax the weight of your legs, let go of any effort with keeping the legs in a certain position, just let them go. And do the same thing with your hands and arms, letting your hands soften, the wrists heavy, the forearms and elbows resting in towards the earth, and letting the weight of your head just go back towards the earth, so the front of your neck can soften, and your face can relax. So noting your body print, just taking a mental Polaroid of your body print, nothing that we get too attached to, but something we can peek at later, and then bring your attention into your skeleton, into your bones, let's start off with the bones in the head and neck, feel the weight of the bones, the skull, the vertebrae in the neck, as you relax the muscles, let the bones feel that pull of gravity, that draw of gravity, like there's an attraction between the earth, gravity, and your skeleton, so your skull gets a little heavier, all of the skull bones, even your forehead, your jaw, feeling that delicious pull, that invitation to rest completely in towards the earth, your jaw might soften, open slightly, as the head gets heavier, the neck becomes more spacious, the front of the neck, those muscles releasing, so the spine can get drawn down towards the earth, and feel the spine behind the heart, the upper back, getting heavy, the ribs resting, the collar bones and shoulder blades surrendering in towards the earth, arm bones, wrists and fingers, all getting heavier, and as they feel the pull of gravity, the muscles relax a little bit more, and you rest a little deeper in towards the earth below you, feel the spine into the lower back, releasing the sacrum at the bottom of the spine and tailbone getting heavy, so your belly can soften, pelvis releasing, thigh bones heavy, knee caps soft, and the legs, ankles and feet, all resting in towards the earth. And notice as you surrender the effort, surrender that work that we typically do, resisting gravity, and just rest into the delicious pull of gravity, notice as you surrender and get heavier, that the earth is right there to support you, that the more you release, the more you surrender into gravity, the more support is right there to let you rest and hold you in shavasana. Take five slow deep belly breaths, and with each exhale, let go a little bit more, do a little less, rest a little deeper, and relax, eventually letting go of the effort with your breath, letting your breath flow at its own natural rhythm in and out across your body like the tide rolling in and out.

And just rest, just rest, just rest. You can stay resting here as long as you like. Thank you so much for relaxing with me.


Sharon H
3 people like this.
Aahhhh....massage by voice. Your voice is a safe haven in this scary world. Thanks! (Maybe some meditation guidance, too?)
Nicole R
1 person likes this.
Great explanation and truly relaxing!! My dog loved it too;)
Diyana Dobberteen
Ah! Thank you for this "mmm chillodesiac" moment in time! DD
Arturo Peal
Thank you all for the kind comments! I may need to quote you on 'massage by voice' and 'chillodesiac' !
Ashley D
2 people like this.
This was wonderful,thank you!
Shannon C
2 people like this.
So good. Such a great way to end my practice and begin my day. Thank you :)
Rachel Z
1 person likes this.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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