A Sivananda class is a compassionate class that is slow paced and deeply meditative. It emphasises relaxing into the poses, softening the breath and concentrating on the meditative experience. Postures are entered slowly and held for long periods of time. Finding stillness in the pose is encouraged along with deep and slow breathing. This awakens awareness to the subtle vibrations of the energy body. A typical class begins with pranayama (breathing exercises) and salutations to the sun (a traditional warm up practice for yoga). Twelve basic posture groups then follow in a particular sequence carefully selected to create complete balance and well being, including inversions, back bends, forward bends, twists, balances and hamstring stretches. Savasana the yoga posture of relaxation is introduced for short periods in between different groups of asanas to maintain stillness and a state of calm throughout the practice. Traditionally a Sivananda class begins and ends with a Sanskrit chant and includes a short meditation and a long final relaxation.