As we move into the month of February, we see small signs of spring.
“In every winter’s heart there is a quivering spring, and behind the veil of each night there is a smiling dawn.” – Khalil Gibran
Winter reminds us of the importance of dormancy, when everything turns inwards and prepares for new growth in the spring. A state of profound rest can renew the body and the mind. And for those seeking healing, finding a way to a place of deep relaxation is important as a means of restoring harmony within the body. It is also the first step on the path to meditation: the ability to relax the body while the mind remains present and aware.
If you have a hard time finding your way to a place of deep relaxation, you could try these steps to experience progressive relaxation in Savasana. Before beginning, put on an extra layer of clothes or cover yourself with a blanket. The guiding principle in this pose is to keep the body symmetrical to help support an even flow of energy through the nervous system.
5 Steps to Experience Progressive Relaxation in Savasana
1. Come to lie on your back on the floor. If you have any tightness in your lower back, try placing a pillow behind the back of the knees. Adjust the feet so they are a comfortable distance apart and the let the toes fall out to the sides. Bring the arms out away from the sides of the body with the palms facing up.
2. Close your eyes and let the whole body sink into the floor, the backs of the legs, the sacrum, shoulder blades and the back of the head.
3. Focus your attention on the flow of the breath. Allow the breath to flow freely and then gradually move into the Relaxing Breath by lengthening the exhalation. Let each exhale roll out of you long and smooth, until your exhalations grow to about twice as long as the inhalations. Continue with this Relaxing Breath for several minutes then release any conscious control of the breath, letting it flow naturally in and out.
4. Bring your awareness down to your feet. Starting with the feet and slowing moving up the body, consciously invite each part of the body to completely relax. Release the jaw and allow any tension in the cheeks, the muscles around the eyes, forehead and temples to melt away. Invite the mind to relax and let go into deep relaxation.
5. You can stay in this state for as long as you wish. When your consciousness begins to surface, come out of relaxation gently. Gradually deepen the breath, wiggle your fingers and toes to bring awareness back to the body. Take a few minutes to stretch out before rolling over onto one side and slowly coming up to sitting. For a minute or two, just be, noticing the quality of the body and the mind. Return to whatever is next in your life with a renewed sense of focus and calm.