If there's one pose that every single beginner fancies their chances at mastering with little effort it's Savasana.
Sanskrit for 'Death Pose', it essentially involves, um, playing dead essentially. It's the halfway point of the 26 poses and signals the change over from the standing sequence to the seated. To someone peering in through a window it would appear as though you are simply lying on your back doing nothing – which you are – but achieving the perfect stillness that Savasna requires is easier said than done. Here's how to do it.
Savasana: Step by Step
The Body Bit
1. Lying on your back, spread you arms and legs to about 45 degrees, eyes closed and breathing deep.
2. Allow your feet to fall outwards. Your hands should be resting on their backs with palms facing upwards.
3. Your whole body should be relaxed onto the floor with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath. Remain like this for two minutes.
The Mind Bit
This is the tricky part. Throughout this time, try and empty your mind of all thoughts other than what your body is doing. Block out shopping lists, work projects, your children's homework, and any other worries. Focus only on your body and the rhythmic nature of your breathing. Keep perfectly still, and don't fidget!
Savasana: The Benefits
Numerous, according to Olga Allon, Director of Hot Bikram Yoga in London. "Taking the time to completely relax every single part of you – all your facial muscles, your body, your mind, your consciousness – is extremely valuable and can help relieve stress and mild depression," she says. "It can also reduce the frequency of headaches if you are prone to them, lower high blood pressure and help combat fatigue and insomnia – both of which are often brought on by physical and mental stress.
"The hardest parts are controlling your mind and keeping it from wandering, and also keeping completely still. Often in classes you'll se beginners scratching their ear, wiping away sweat, picking dead skin, wriggling to get comfortable... but once you learn to control these impulses you'll achieve a much deeper state of relaxation."
Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.