When we have finished our practice, we should feel completely balanced. After Shavasana, or even just before it, some quiet pranayama or energy work is often done. Right after Shavasana you may find yourself in a deep, yin-like altered state. Performing some guided breath work can balance your yin and yang energies, and wake you up again. Nadi Shodana, also called “alternate nostril breathing,” is a good way to balance yin and yang energies. Doing a couple of the Pawanmuktasana [1] exercises can also work well. Or, just do a couple of sun salutations to get the blood flowing again.

Adverse Reactions

Several studies of the relaxation response have shown that, occasionally, relaxation can have adverse effects. These effects range from a feeling of being dissociated from your body or from reality, to feelings of anxiety or panic. Sometimes deeply repressed emotions start to surface. If these start to trouble you, remain calm, and resolve to watch whatever unfolds with the same dispassion with which you were watching the breath during your practice. Practice the A.W.A.K.E.N. process we learned in the first half of our journey. If conditions persist, seek assistance.

For some students, physiological reactions can occur; blood pressure can drop after deep relaxation, and a temporary hypoglycemic state can occur. If you are on medication, deep relaxation may intensify the effect of the drugs. Caution is advised for students taking insulin, sedatives, or cardiovascular medications. Check with your health care professional before beginning a yoga practice if you are on medication.

These occurrences are rare, but it is good to be aware that adverse reactions can happen. Don’t be alarmed. If the situation warrants help, seek it.


  1. — See Moving Energy for this section.