Thursday, July 2, 2009

Corpse Pose ~ Savasana

What is Savasana?

This article is excerpted from Iyengar Yoga Resources. See below for link. The image is from Kona Yoga. Click on image to see their site.

At the end of our asana practice we lie down, feet fallen outward, breath long, hands facing the sky, for savasana, corpse pose. By all accounts, corpse pose is considered the most difficult posture, as we posture the mind and body to imitate a corpse. “Most difficult for students,” says Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, “not waking, not sleeping.”

While a busy mind is a consequence of overpushing in yoga postures, then it’s opposite is deep sleep during corpse pose. However, corpse pose exists in the middle space between sleep and effort.

When we are new to practice, the experience of savasana is simply a rest after the arduous practice of bending, stretching, and twisting the body into various shapes. At first, savasana becomes just another form, but a form seemingly void of technique, concept and application.

In savasana, we let go of any particular breathing technique and simply allow the breath to move through its inherent inhaling and exhaling pattern. As the breath finds its way through the open channels of the body, the mind does so as well, by weaving itself into the strands of thought and sensation that flow through the body. When the breath is free, the mind is free. When the breath is allowed to move naturally, the mind settles into itself. When the mind relaxes, the tongue and palette become spacious, the roof of the mouth lifts and hollows and the central core of the body opens.

To read the whole article click here.

Sara's note: I think this is so interesting. While some folks leave class before Savasana, I know most folks like the relaxation at the end of class. But to delve deeply into the pose isn’t something we practice much. I only have a few students who fall asleep in Savasana but who knows how many have whirling minds?

Interestingly, at the end of Restorative class I don’t think I have ever had anyone fall asleep in Savasana. Maybe it is because the entire practice is so introspective that their minds are already in Savasana mode vs. a regular class where Savasana is just rest at the end.