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Should you do a relaxation after exercise?

It is known to everyone who’s been to a yoga class, at the end of the practice there is a relaxation. This winding down time integrates the practice into the nervous system to reap the benefits of the practice.

Never neglect a relaxation after working out.

People relaxing on the ground in yoga studio
Why you should do a relaxation after exercise

Why are we not relaxing after any kind of exercise?

I’ve recently been to the gym for the first time. After working out for an hour I was going home, just like that! On the way on my bike I felt completely hyped up. My heart was still beating fast and I felt inner shaking. As a long time practitioner of yoga and asana all I could think of was lying down for a relaxation.

And that’s what I did when I came home and felt much better after only 5 minutes flat on the ground.

What is Shavasana?

Shavasana, the relaxation in yoga is translated as corpse pose and has numerous important health benefits. By lying down after a physical workout the nervous system falls into a parasympathetic state resulting in reduced heart rate and blood pressure.

Why rest?

Have you heart the saying “all healing happens in a restful state”? After challenging your body whether its at the gym, in an asana class or after a run, you are bringing your body back into a balanced state.

"All healing happens in a relaxed state" - Unknown

Recovery time

Furthermore relaxing after a workout will help your body repair cells and tissues and increases long-lasting energy levels and productivity.

No more unnecessary stress response

Repeated activation of the stress response (fight-or-flight) takes a toll on the body. That's why relaxation does the opposite. It alleviates insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, stress and even mild depression. So adding Shavasana to your active practice can be a life saver not only for stressful times.

If you feel you need to bring yourself into an even deeper state of healing try a restorative yoga class where each pose is held 5-10 minutes. Most of the people feel like new after a restorative practice. Your nervous system gets into the parasympathetic mode over a longer time which intensifies the healing response.

How to relax effectively?

In Purna Yoga we put very much focus on the alignment of the body in Shavasana, just throwing yourself on the floor is not enough. You nervous system gets delicate when you relax and you will twitch your body after a while if you are not properly aligned.

How to align in Shavasana?

  • Start to lie on your back with your knees bend

  • Pull the flesh of your buttocks towards your heels (this prevents the lower back from cramping) Use support under you knees if you have lower back pain

  • Then straighten the legs one at the time pressing the heels away

  • Keep the feet hip width apart, relax them

  • Cross your arms around your chest and take hold of your shoulder blades, pull them apart and down

  • Then place your arms next to your body in about 45 degree angle, with the palms facing up, relax them

  • Focus on your breath and release your body into the earth

In our classes you will be guided into the relaxation for the first few minutes, then the room will be quiet.

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