V. Deep Relaxation
This is an important part of the yoga session in that it helps the student learn how to relax his or her body. Deep relaxation provides an opportunity for the body to slow down and absorb all the energy from the yoga practice. It is also a practice in stillness.
With the lights dimmed, relaxing music playing, and distractions in the room removed, the student is asked to go into shavasana or the Corpse Pose. Shavasana consists of comfortably lying supine on the floor, with the arms to the side, palms facing up. The feet are about shoulders-width apart. A blanket may be placed over the body for warmth. An eye pillow may be placed over the eyes to let them relax in darkness.
To facilitate relaxation, the student is verbally cued to bring awareness to his or her breath. If the student is responsive to massage, the instructor can perform gentle massages starting from the feet and up, giving attention to areas of the body that are tense.
Another technique that can help the student relax is by facilitating progressive relaxation. Here, the instructor verbally cues the student to consciously contract or tense the muscle and then consciously relax the muscle. The exercise progress from contracting and relaxing the muscles of the feet and legs, and then up the body toward the head.
Then, slowly let the student ease out of deep relaxation. Cue the student to deepen the breath. With eyes still closed, let the student become aware of his or her surroundings. Have the student start to move their fingers and toes, and then gently stretch their body as if they were about to get up from a brief nap. Have the student slowly roll over to the right side, in a fetal position. When the student is ready, come up to a seated position.