Hatha Yoga Pradipika—one of the ancient yogic texts—sums up the pose nicely: “Lying flat on the ground with the face upwards, in the manner of a dead body, is Savasana. It removes tiredness and enables the mind (and whole body) to relax.” Chapter 1, Verse 32
When you first start practicing Savasana, it can be a struggle to relax in the pose; you may lie there feeling tense. Or, you might fall asleep. The essence of Savasana is to relax with attention – to remain conscious and alert while still being at ease. It’s normal for the mind to try to resist this deep relaxation. It takes practice and patience to surrender easily.
It is called corpse pose not only because of the position of the body, but also in its ability to prepare us for the ultimate relaxation: death. Being aware of death doesn’t make us morbid and doesn’t need to make us afraid. It can bring about more joy as we choose to live our lives fully, knowing that it will end. Savasana represents surrender to the unknown, the foreign, to the changes that we need in our lives. It asks that we let go of our efforts and simply allow the Divine to work through us.
• Helps relieve mild depression, high blood pressure headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
• Calms the nervous system.
• Promotes equanimity in your entire body.
• Helps fatigued muscles relax.
PREPARATORY & FOLLOW-UP POSES:
Savasana should conclude your yoga practice.
• Back injury or discomfort: Do this pose with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, hip-distance apart. Or, bring your feet about as wide as your mat and let your knees fall together in the center of your body (see photo).
• You can do Supta Baddha Konasana as Savasana. It helps your nervous system to place a block as support under each outer thigh (see photo).
• Pregnancy: Raise your head and chest on a bolster.
• Rest the arms and hands away from the hips with the palms turned upward.
• Make a comfortable distance between the shoulders and ears.
• Relax the skin of the forehead, eyes, and cheeks down toward the bridge of the nose.
• Deliberately relax the weight of the bones, muscles, organs, fluids, and nerves.
• Explore and receive the feelings and sensations as they come in and out of your awareness.
• Experience what it feels like to relax. And relax a little more.
COMING OUT OF SAVASANA:
• Allow movement to stir throughout the body.
• Bend the knees, placing the feet onto the floor.
• Draw the knees in to the chest, and roll to the right.
• Prepare for what’s next.
Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.
~Bryant H. McGill