Svasana for Svastha
Yoga Therapy for Chronic Sleep Issues
Svasana is most commonly referred to as 'corpse pose'—a rather ironic transliteration for a Sanskrit term which, as a noun, can mean respiration, feeling, or living, and as an adjective may take on the connotation of [something] living, or being alive. Lying on the ground, without action or seeming purpose, may appear counter to the modern, popularized studio yoga styles wherein physical movement, striving for so-called flexibility, and a multiplicity of props are the expected norm. Yet, the simple non-action of allowing the earth to support us is at the heart of all original yoga practice—to simply 'be.'
Throughout this site you may have noticed the term Svastha: it refers to whole-being wellbeing, a balanced state of body and mind. For most of us, this is something to patiently and diligently work toward in our daily lives, yet is not easily achieved. This said, there are simple, guided practices—such as Svasana—that enable us to pause, step outside of the patterns of our day and ruminations of our mind, and momentarily guide us closer to that elusive state of Svastha.
Yoga is about letting go of all that is not essential. In essence, breathing is a metaphor for all yoga practice: When we let go of the 'do' mindset (forced inhale), the result is a clearer, more lucid (relaxed exhale) state of mind, able to act voluntarily and without extraneous influence.
Svasana for Sleep
Despite very real, or sometimes perceived, challenges and obstacles, our mind and thoughts are still with us, affecting us both positively and negatively. Having recourse to a guided, introspective practice is a simple yet substantive means of bringing balance and peace. Svasana, in effect, is the voluntary relaxation of the body with the purpose of also 'relaxing' and clearing the mind of cluttered, ruminative thought patterns, rigid mindset, worries... the non-essentials.
As a yoga therapy practice, Svasana is helpful in managing anxiety and stress, as well as being a particularly effective resource for those experiencing chronic sleep issues. Although sleep is affected by various elements, and in turn can cause several of these elements—stress leads to anxiety which results in sleeplessness, which in turn may lead to poor eating habits, difficulty in concentrating, and poor emotional control—this cyclical effect can be interrupted by the simple practice of Svasana.
Svasana is almost invariably an addendum to group yoga classes. We feel that its importance as a singular, introspective practice should be accessible to our current clients, regardless of location. Svasana for Svastha was first offered during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to bridge the distance created by not being able to see clients due to health advisories / mandates and required social isolation for many in the healthcare field. These restrictions limited our ability to provide yoga therapy and supportive therapies in-home, and online support was limited by technological access, safety concerns, and significant physical considerations. We continue t offer Svasana for Svastha for those experiencing chronic sleep issues, and as a therapeutic practice which can be scheduled by *current* clients in the same manner as any appointment or consultation, regardless of location. All that is needed is a half-hour, and a good mobile phone connection.