Shavasana, the yogic pose of relaxation, should be practised with breath
awareness after completing Surya Namaskara. It rests and relieves any
tensions which may be present in the body. Shavasana, known as the dead
man's pose, involves consciously willing the entire body to relax to the
point where it becomes as limp as a lifeless corpse. Through shavasana
complete rest is obtained in a few minutes and afterwards one is able
to rise fully refreshed with body and mind in a state of relaxed harmony.
The relaxation period following Surya Namaskara
is an important part of the practice as it allows the body time for readjustment
and removal of any toxins which have been released into the blood stream
during the practice. In Surya Namaskara, some exertion is required to
perform the sequence of postures. This is indicated by the increased heart
rate and deep breathing, which correspond to arousal of the sympathetic
nervous system. The relaxation in shavasana afterwards allows the prasympathetic
nervous system to operate, reversing the effects of arousal, and returning
the body to a balanced state. Through the combination of Surya Namaskara
and Shavasana, both aspects of the autonomic nervous system are stimulated
and conseuently the whole body is revitalized.
The period of relaxation should
last at least until the practitioner can feel that his heartbeat and breath
have returned to normal and all tension has been released from the muscles.