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  • Tracey L. Kelley

What I See in Final Relaxation

Updated: Apr 27


So I confess: when I'm teaching, I'm watching you. A lot. Like, all the time.

Feel creeped out yet? :)

As much as you take your cues from me as to how to breathe, what to do, what not to do, and so on, I'm reading your cues, too.

Some people are quite vocal in class. A lot of this has to do with the general atmosphere and if they feel comfortable talking out loud about what's working for them and what's not. Most of the time, as long as this vocalization isn't so frequent as to interupt the experiences of everyone else, I don't mind this. That being said, it's important to recognize that while it's always your practice, it's not always your class. So as long as people are mindful and considerate of others trying to have their experiences too, an occasional announced check-in is fine.

Others will "suffer in silence" as the phrase goes. And my responsibility is to pay attention to these individuals even more than the person who might speak up.

Which is why final relaxation, most often experienced through Corpse Pose, or Savasana, is one of the most important poses you can do. We often try to shrug it off, as in "I've done all the moving bits--I worked out! I don't need to lie here and do nothing!" But oh boy, this is when the magic truly happens.

*After practice, Savasana relaxes your entire body and settles your mind.

*It decreases respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure to provide a true resting state.

*It provides a "set point" of the practice.

Just as I do during practice, when I watch people in final relaxation, I'm looking for signs that the session--and this pose in particular--was effective. Here's how I know something didn't work for someone: *Fidgeting fingers and toes *Still rapidly breathing *Shifting or shuffling on the mat *Peeking at watches *Looking at me for the next action I've also seen people check their phones (!!!!!!), or turn over and start packing up their gear to leave (!!!!!!).

No, and no. I observe these cues and recognize that adjustments have to be made. The question is why? It would be inappropriate for me to speculate--I have to use this information to create a more effectual experience for someone. Sometimes this happens with a conversation. Or maybe I simply wrap up feet to keep them warm. Or find some weighted balls so someone with fidgeting fingers has something to hold.

Not all our necessary messages are spoken. We communicate a great deal in our facial expressions, micro-expressions, and gestures. If I'm doing my part, I recognize these forms of communication are just as important as what you say, and I can help you achieve the best experience.

photo credit: Yoga Journal


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