Relaxation Technique or Guided Meditation, Savasana vs Hypnosis
Savasana (“corpse pose”) is considered one of the most complex poses to achieve correctly. It is a state of complete restorative relaxation of the mental and physical.
Used for relaxation at the end of the class, in savasana or “corpse pose,” the student lies on the mat face up with arms along the sides of the body with space between the body and the arms, palms up. Legs extended relaxed and slightly apart. Lights are dimmed, the eyes may be covered, and aromatherapy is used.
Initially, savasana can be compared to hypnosis as the teacher guides the student into the pose. But some significant differences become apparent as the yoga practice becomes more defined. There are variations in how the teacher leads students into the depth of the pose.
Physical Assistance in the Pose
The eyes are closed, and a cloth or scented pillow may be placed over the eyes. A bolster may be placed under the back if needed. The teacher may gently lift the head in both hands to release the tensions of the neck before setting it down on the mat. The teacher may lift the feet, shaking the legs to loosen any stiffness before setting them down again. The arms may be pressed down to the carpet, or a massage done on the back of the neck or the brow.
Verbal Descriptions of Movement during Savasana
The teacher intones softly about the body on the floor, the weightlessness of the arms and legs. Breaths are described as deep, cleansing inhalations and exhalations. The student is mindful of the tight jaw or neck and facial muscles and encouraged to go deeper into the pose.
Like a hypnotic state, the student is brought out of the pose by increasing awareness of breath, movement of fingers and toes, and hands and feet. Eventually, the student turns to the right and gradually back to a seated position.
Verbal Suggestions of Being in the Corpse Pose
The students are relaxed in a corpse pose. The dialogue may derivate the following: The teacher suggests a beautiful, quiet place, such as an isolated, warm beach. The palm trees are swaying, and there are no worries. Physical pains have receded. Hurts are part of the past, and irrelevant. The student is present with a relaxed pure spirit.
The suggestions continue in quiet tones until the student is “awakened” refreshed from the pose.
Inspirational Readings during Savasana
A teacher may read from an autobiography of a yogi. The Autobiography of a Yogi can be found online in its entirety. The eight limbs of yoga, or the yamas and niyamas (restraints and observances), may be read to the relaxing students. The readings can be religious or daily affirmations. The task is only an accompaniment to savasana.
Suggested readings may be from:
Suggested readings may be from:
- Swami Sivananda
- Selvarajan Yesudian
- B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life
- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
- Verses of the Mandukya Upanishad
- Or the teachers’ own philosophy.
Yoga and Hypnosis
The suggestive powers of hypnosis and trance mimic the depth of savasana. Hypnosis is a form of mental concentration. There is a response to the suggestion, whether it is a behaviour change or memory recall. In yoga, the goal is personal meditation and letting go of the body, the self. In savasana, the body is at ease, and the senses are drawn inward.