Have you ever pondered the importance of the closing ritual at the end of your class?
The closing of the class is not an add on and an opportunity to simply lay down or maybe have a quick nap. The entire class, if sequenced correctly is intended to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and digest responses).
The class ends in savasana which gives the body-mind an opportunity to assimilate all the benefits of the practices. As savasana concludes you’re given instructions that are designed to end the class and let return to your life away from the studio with all the buzz of the PNS stimulation.
This is where it can become a bit unstuck and all the work you’ve just done can be lost before you come off the mat. The reason you’re asked to roll to your right side and come into a foetal position is significant but generally disregarded. The analogy is that you’re being reborn after practice with a renewed energy and a zen mind ready to return to life off the mat.
You’re asked to sit up slowly, this is because any fast or sudden movements of the head and neck will potentially activate the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fright and Flight responses) along with a potential risk of physical injury. Sitting up suddenly, doing a sit up or some sort of jack knife move and disregarding the foetal position transition will undo every benefit of the class in one movement.
Likewise the big deep full yogic breath we take at the end of the class with an exaggerated sigh on the out breath is another example of the rebirth, just like a baby taking it’s first breath.The class ends with “Aum Shanti” which is a revocation of peace and “Namaste” a greeting or salutation. Finally a forward fold is practiced honouring the ancient masters of yoga, your teacher and yourself.
Don’t disregard any part of the class, you may not understand why certain rituals are practiced but there’s a definite benefit to all that is presented. Just think your at the pointy end of 5000 years of wellness philosophy.