Sweet Surrender In Savasana
Corpse Pose Deconstructed
Savasana or Corpse pose is often regarded as a brief “naptime” which is typically done at the end each yoga class.
Although Savasana can indeed be a time of rest, it is also a purposeful posture, which offers the opportunity to connect with our breath, body and mind.
Some yogis cannot wait to enjoy the stillness while others are counting the seconds until it is over. As a yoga instructor I see both ends of the spectrum in every class, from the snoring yogi who is literally taking a nap to that person with their eyes wide open, constantly fidgeting and struggling through each moment.
The key is to find that glorious balance somewhere in between.
Let’s start with the physical components that may lead us to a better understanding of the non-physical aspects. As mentioned, Savasana is absolutely intended to relax both body and mind, therefore it is essential that we be comfortable and calm.
Like all asanas there are many variations or adjustments that can be made to make the pose accessible for our body. This may include the usage of props such as blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, blankets or even a towel rolled up to support the neck or knees.
To keep it simple, I will cue the basic pose with the reminder that variations are always welcomed and acceptable. Depending on the class style and teacher, students may be instructed to turn around so that the feet are positioned to the opposite direction and the crown of the head is facing toward the front of the room. Once in supine position, open the legs to create space between the thighs and feet. The arms come away from the body with the hands placed slightly off the mat, below the heart. The chin is marginally tucked inward toward the chest and the eyes are relaxed or closed. Allow for complete softness in the face and perhaps even unhinge the bottom jaw. Let the palms ease and the toes flop away from center as the hips and legs settle.
Now that the physical aspect is complete, what do we do for the several minutes we must remain in the pose? This can be a time of meditation or the chance to connect with our breath and simply rest. From one class to the next you may find that you experience either a busy mind, full of thoughts, or the focus is on nothing more than the sounds of your heartbeat and breath. The goal is to surrender the body and accept where the mind is in these moments; some days will be easier than others to unwind and truly be present with self.