how many times a day do you stop to just breathe and relax?
For most of us, a “time out” can offer a lot to our work day. Our body and mind also needs a breather from all the tasks we are doing. When we do relax and rest even for a few minutes in between, we allow ourselves to rejuvenate, think more clearly and our bodies to function properly. For people with Parkinson’s disease, fatigue is a common side effect of the disease, possibly attributed to damaged nerve cells or a side-effect of medication. Taking a break to re-energize or to calm stiff/shaking muscles can really make a difference in how you go about your day.
savasana, or corpse pose, is a great way to reduce tension and create some space for yourself … most yoga teachers would agree it is one of (or the!) most important pose you can do to nurture yourself.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Relaxes the body
- Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia
- Helps to lower blood pressure
- If any back injury or discomfort, can bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart; or, place a bolster under your knees to create a slight bend
- If pregnant, use a bolster or stacked blankets to slightly raise your head and chest
- Lie down, face up on your mat
- Spread your legs wide apart and feel your heels make contact with the earth and let your feet flop out to either side
- Feel your thigh bones sinking down into the earth
- Lift and tuck your tailbone down to create a nice long spine and healthy arch in your lower back
- Tuck one shoulder then the other down and under to create a nice open chest
- Have your arms spread wide out to the side along either side of your body, with your palms face up to create a slight opening in your chest and spreading the collarbones *a great prop is placing bean bags in the palms of your hands to create a grounding and spreading
- Gently rock your head back and forth (like you’re shaking your head ‘no’) and let it come to rest in the middle, slightly humble your chin so the back of your head (occipital ridge) is resting on the ground *if you experience any neck pain, as sometimes people with PD have tight back of the neck and it is difficult to lay your head flat on the floor, place some stacked blankets to align your chin better with your chest **eye pillows are great to focus your awareness on the internal
- Inhale, and keep your neck soft and your head heavy. Allow your arms, legs and torso to relax into the mat.
- Exhale, allowing your chest, ribs and abdomen to sink towards the mat. Imagine your internal organs soft and relaxed.
- Keep breathing, soften your tongue in your mouth, the forehead, especially around the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows and let your eyes sink to the back of the head.
- Stay here as long as you can, creating space and relaxation in your body with breath. Really feel the earth supporting the entire weight of your body.
- When you are ready to release, slow roll to your right side, cradling your head in your biceps. Relax here for a few moments before pushing yourself up to seated, starting with your torso and your head last.
This is so nurturing for people with busy lives, or those who need a moment to regain some energy and a sense of calm in their body. And from personal experience, it took me quite a while to really let go, to know that there was nothing left to do, and really let the earth support me. So breath into it and with every exhale just let one more thing go, whether it be relaxing your toes, letting go of the standing series, or letting go of that tough item on your to-do list. Happy savasana, you deserve it! much love.