Savasana – corpse pose is probably (almost) everybody’s favorite. The name might sound a bit creepy, but there is a good reason for it. The pose itself is just beautiful to do: laying on your back, with your eyes closed, arms a bit away from your body, legs spread apart. The only thing you have to do is breathe and feel inside. How hard can that be?
Hard to be honest, but lest start with the name first. Okay, you lay on the floor, arms spread, legs spread, but why calling it corpse pose? Why not calling it sleeping posture of resting posture? I agree that would sound a lot more friendly, but the thing is; we truly die. In a yogic way that is. Yoga looks in a different way at our life and our body. I already explained you that according to yoga we have five different bodies. We also have an ego, a mind and a soul. I will tell you more about it in one of my next blogs. For now let us focus on savasana – corpse pose.
We all have our own character and our own emotions. A lot of the emotions we have now are based on emotions we have had in the past. Those first emotions have let an imprint in our mind (a neuro-linguistic bridge) and when we come into a similar situation that neuro-linguistic bridge is activated; meaning we act now, based on our actions in the past. So we have these old emotions, determining our actions in the present and we have our bad traits. In yoga we call these samskaras. For a big part we are not conscious of these samskaras. They are stored in the subconscious part of our brain. But by doing yoga, we do release and resolve this old emotions and bad habits and by doing so, we become a better person; a better version of us.
Back to the name corpse pose. After stepping on our yoga mat and doing our yoga series we lay down in savasana. The yogis see this as the old you dying. And here is where the hard part kicks in. We have to lay still in savasana. No movement is allowed, because we want to give our body, our mind, our nervous system, our endocrine system, our subconscious the time to incorporate all the changes we just made by doing our practice. You can look at it as a dam in a river. When you open the dam the water flows through. This is what’s happening in our body. We have energy blockages related to old emotions and old behavioral patterns in our body. When we do our practices we release them. We open the dam and the energy starts to flow and to find its way. If we keep moving in savasana it is as putting new, little dams in the water. We undo the effect of our practice.
This is also why it’s so important to do savasana – corpse pose. If we don’t do it, we don’t give our body the time to incorporate all the input we have been giving it. Max Strom, a big American yoga, said it best: Doing yoga without doing savasana is like writing a book on a computer without saving in. At the end you will have nothing.
Coming out of savasana – corpse pose we normally roll over on one side. The pose you are in then is called embryo pose (one of the versions). The old you has died, the new you is ready to be born. Slowly you bring yourself in an upright position and then you open your eyes to look with your new eyes, your new vision into the world; as a new person. As a better version of you.
Getting into savasana – corpse pose
- Lay down on your back
- Relax your head, neck, jaw and shoulders
- Spread your legs apart; about half a meter. Let your feet fall outwards.
- Straighten your arms and lay them down next to you, with your hands about twenty centimeters away from your body
- Open the palms of your hands towards the ceiling in a receiving position
- Close your eyes
- Breathe deeply in and out. Focus on your breath and ‘look’ inside. See if you can notice any sensations in your body
- Stay in the pose for fifteen up until twenty minutes
Benefits of savasana – corpse pose
- Removes tiredness of your practice
- Silences the mind
- Calms the nervous system
Source: Light on Yoga - Iyengar Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long Ashtanga – David Swenson Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati