Sometimes before I start my yoga classes I take requests, and the number one response is almost always savasana. When I ask people why they love this pose so much, they talk about how they get to rest, and maybe even nap for a few minutes. My meditation teacher always says that what we all need most is rest. There is no doubt that most of us are overworked, overstressed and most definitely overstimulated. So those last ten minutes of yoga can feel like a much needed repose.
After working hard in a yoga class, that last pose feels euphoric. Savasana is done for at least 10 minutes on the back with all the limbs naturally extended outwards, palms facing up and eyes softly closed. It’s a pose that can be done at any time and can serve as a reset button throughout the day or as an aid for inviting more peaceful sleep at night. Corpse pose symbolizes detachment from the physical. Most of us have a lot of attachments, but the greatest one of all is attachment to the body and fear of death. When the body takes on the shape of complete surrender, as in savasana, the mind begins to relax and expand. Our connection to the external things begins to fade. All the fears, responsibilities and plans move into the background, while a deeper sense of peace arises.
Savasana is one of the most important poses to practice. The great yoga masters Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar said Savasana is actually the most difficult of all yoga poses, even though it looks like the easiest. For many students, the ability to lie completely still — like a corpse — while being both fully aware of and unattached from the present moment takes much practice and patience. Unlike active, moving, and physically demanding poses, Savasana requires a conscious decision to release the mental chatter and surrender fully into a state of presence. Falling asleep is not the goal of corpse pose. In fact, the idea is to stay aware for the full duration of the pose so that the mental chatter settles and the awareness moves into higher states of consciousness. As you allow yourself to sink deeper into the pose, you can begin to release stress, emotions and unconscious patterns that keep you stuck. Practicing this pose recharges the body, resets the mind and gives you a new and refreshed view of life. So the next time you find yourself in this underrated pose, take a moment to consciously disconnect and allow yourself to release the urge to control, manage and resist anything that comes up. Become an observer and let all the ego stuff die away.
Try the class below for a nice 20-minute relaxation in the middle of the day or to help you fall asleep at night!