To learn what true relaxation feels like for you—and to extend this feeling beyond your yoga practice so it stays with you throughout your vacation and afterward—try this exercise, created by New York yoga teacher Jillian Pransky, called Eye Open Savasana. At the end of a yoga session, when you're ready to ease out of Savasana—or anytime you're coming out of a restorative pose such as Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall-Pose), above—take yourself carefully through these steps:
- Slowly open your eyes and gradually take in the space around you.
- Observe how you feel as you begin to move your awareness outward.
- Notice if tension or stress starts to seep in.
- Tune in to your body and watch how and where you start to harden.
- With your eyes open, let yourself soften again and relax even more deeply.
- Practice staying relaxed while your eyes remain open.
- Practice staying open, and not tightening up, as you softly reenter the world.
Another variation is to start with opening the ears. "It can be easier to start taking in the sounds without tightening up," Pransky says. After letting the sounds start to register, open your eyes and then go through the same set of steps.