There are cycles to be found in everything, especially, of course, time. An hour, a day, a year…each is a cycle, and each part of the cycle has its own special nuance and texture that makes the whole all the richer. A yoga practice is no different.
A cycle of asana (yoga postures) has its beginning, middle, and then spirals in toward savasana, a pose that resonates with this season.
At this time, the trees shed their leaves and turn their energy inward. Bulbs and seeds rest quietly in the ground as the ice and snows of a New England winter descend. Hunkering down, nature exists around and beneath our feet in a state of suspension, a state of internality that precedes the joy of spring and renewal. This turning inward, gathering of energy that then fuels and replenishes a wellspring of growth is reminiscent of the restorative cycle of yoga that culminates in savasana.
Postures that resemble savasana (both physically and in intended feeling) appear early in the texts of the hatha yoga tradition, and savasana is widely regarded as a key pose. To me, it bridges the transition from a physical postural yoga practice, to a practice that focuses on relaxing the body, mind, and especially the senses away from the external world. Savasana is the chance to absorb the residual vibrations left by physical practice, but it is so much more.
At this time of year, I like to practice a version of savasana that uses blankets to fully cover the body, and maybe an extra blanket as weight on the belly. As with most supported poses, make adjustments that increase comfort and decrease effort. Additional support can be found by putting a roll or pillow under the knees or by adding a blanket under the head (make sure the neck does not end up flattened on the mat, and equally ensure that your head doesn’t roll back so that your chin is tipped up into the air). An eye bag or small towel over the eyes can also help you ground and settle. And if this is not the savasana for you, then ask any of our restorative school faculty for advice or visit a class. There are many exquisite propped, wrapped, and supported variations on savasana to share!