In a yoga studio, your teacher will make sure the surroundings are suitable for relaxation. If you are practicing by yourself, make your environment quiet: disconnect phones; turn off noises; open the windows to allow fresh air in, but stay warm; put any pets into another room; turn lights down, but not off completely – a completely dark room may encourage you to sleep – for the same reason you may want to avoid doing Shavasana in bed.

Begin by letting the body become open: take off glasses and watches; let your hair down; remove anything that may constrict the flow of energy. Also remove any metallic circles you have on – things like rings, bracelets, and body piercings can interfere with the flow of energy. [1] Ensure you will stay warm – put on socks, a sweater, and/or cover yourself with a blanket. [2] 

Make yourself comfortable as you lie down on the floor. Bending the knees a little will allow the lower back to release to the floor. If you do bend the knees, place a folded blanket or bolster under them so that the legs can relax. Allow the feet to fall outward. If you do not have the knees bent, separate the legs until the knees are hip-width apart or even farther. To really allow the sacrum to lie flat, slide your tailbone away from you. Next, let your arms lie beside you, palms face up and about a foot away from your hips. This will allow your shoulder blades to lie flat; snuggle them into the floor.

Lengthen the neck slightly by pointing the chin toward your feet. You can even roll your head from side to side a few times, until you find a comfortable position in the center. A pillow is nice.

Get all of your fidgeting over with; become still. Often, one or two deep breaths here with a loud sigh are delicious. Release your bones, let go completely – you are ready. Now close your eyes; time to relax.

 

  1. — As we discovered in Chapter Five: The Energy Body, electric generators and motors are possible only because metallic circles transform (or distort) energy flowing through them. In the yin practice, we are deliberately stimulating, and freeing, the flow of energy. We don’t want it to be distorted now. In fact, it is a good idea not to wear metallic circles while doing your yoga practice. Remember, though, we are talking about completely closed circles; a bracelet or ring that doesn’t quite form a circle is fine.
  2. — If you are doing Shavasana after a sweaty yang practice, you may need to change your shirt to avoid getting too cold, but don’t wipe off any sweat; allowing sweat to dry on the body is one of the yogic healing techniques. (In Yin Yoga you won’t have to worry about any sweat!)