October 4, 2013
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This blog entry is not going to describe Savasana in the typical way, of stating how to practice this pose or what the MANY benefits are (although I encourage you to research this if you don’t already know how to do this, or why you should). Let’s look at this posture with a new lens for a few moments.
Let’s begin with recognizing that this final resting pose in any Yoga class is perhaps the MOST important one to practice, and the MOST challenging for many people. You might be thinking “What do you mean it’s challenging to just lay there, still, with your eyes closed?”
Can you remember how foreign this may have felt the very first time to tried it? Have you been able to feel someone new to Yoga (or maybe not so new) lying next to you trying to relax and you can sense that they are wiggling around, looking around, or fidgeting? Yoga teachers know this all too well…the student who evens pops their head up a couple of times to look around the room, wondering if they should be doing something instead of just letting go into supreme softness and support. It’s not easy to let go.
As far as I’m concerned, what is impressive in a Yoga practice is how well someone is able to practice Savasana. How well can you let go of all of the mind chatter during this few minutes? How well can you surrender the weight of your body into the earth without the need to move? How deeply can you allow your energy to simple settle into a restful and peaceful state for a very limited time frame at the end of your Yoga practice? To me, this is the pose to practice mastery in.
By practicing a few minutes of deep relaxation on a regular basis, the body and mind will learn how to remain in this state of blissful peace more often throughout your life. Your coping skills will improve, your body will experience less pain, your stress level will decrease, and the list goes on.
As a teacher, teaching a class takes some personal energy. You are “on” for an hour, hour and half, maybe a couple of hours straight. The benefit of Savasana for the teacher is that when the group of practitioners fully allow themselves to go deep within their state of relaxation, the room begins to glow with a radiant light than nourishes the teacher, giving back tenfold the energy that was put into the teaching. Nothing is lost from the students, it is a collective energy from the Universe that is created from a group of bodies and minds that simply let go. It is palpable. Spiritual energy circulates, a deep resonance of peace infuses EVERY body in the room, and infuses the floors and walls of the space. Ahh….
So, I invite you to take this posture seriously, allow yourself this time to refresh your body, mind and spirit. And, if you are a teacher, PLEASE offer a substantial amount of time for this important practice. If it’s an hour class, allow for at least 5 minutes of corpse pose; for a 75-minute class, 7-10 minutes is nice; 90-minute class, 10-12 minutes please. A 2-hour class, can we have a whole 15 minutes? Trust me, you won’t regret it. 🙂 It takes some time to experience deep relaxation.