Corpse Pose (Savasana)

How to Do Corpse Pose - Savasana
Corpse Pose - Savasana. John Freeman/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Type of pose: Supine, resting

Also known as: Final relaxation

Benefits: No yoga session is complete without a final relaxation posture. Savasana allows your body and mind time to process what has happened during a yoga class. It provides a necessary counterpoint to the effort you put forth during asana practice.

Teachers often say that savasana is the most difficult yoga pose, which is really a way of saying that it's really hard for some people to do nothing for ten minutes.

 If you find it challenging, try scanning your body from toe to head, saying the name of each body part and then releasing it. Your body needs this time to absorb the new information it has received through the physical practice.

Often, the mind wants to stay active even when the body is relaxed. When your body is still, your mind has an opportunity to figure out how to maintain the same state of calmness when the body is at rest that existed during the intense physicality of asana. If your mind won't stop chattering, Tty the basic meditation techniques of noticing your thoughts, labeling them as thinking, and then letting them go. Just like other types of yoga, this takes practice. Eventually, you will notice that when your body goes into savasana, your mind also assumes a relaxed state.

Even though savasana is a resting pose, it’s not the same a sleeping! You should try to stay present and aware during the five to ten minutes you spend in final relaxation.

 

Instructions:

1. Lie down on your back.

2. Separate your legs. Let go of holding your legs straight so that your feet can fall open to either side.

3. Bring your arms alongside your body, but slightly separated from your torso. Turn your palms to face upwards but don't try to keep them open. Let the fingers curl in.

 

4. Tuck your shoulder blades onto your back for support. This is a similar movement to tucking the shoulders under in bridge pose, but less intense.

5. Once you have set up your limbs, release any effort from holding them in position. Relax your whole body, including your face. Let your body feel heavy.

6. Let your breathing occur naturally. If your mind wanders, you can bring your attention to your breath but try to just notice it, not deepen it.

7. Stay for a minimum of five minutes. Ten minutes is better. If you are practicing at home, set an alarm so that you are not compelled to keep checking the time.

8. To come out, first begin to the deepen your breath. Then begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, slowly reawakening your body.

9. Stretch your arms overhead for a full body stretch from hands to feet.

10. Bring your knees into your chest and roll over to one side, keeping your eyes closed. Use your bottom arm as a pillow while you rest in a fetal position for a few breaths.

11. Using your hands for support, bring yourself back up into a sitting position.

Tips:

Using props during savasana can make the pose more comfortable and relaxing. 

1. If you have low back tenderness or stiffness, a rolled blanket or bolster under your knees helps bring the pelvis into a more comfortable position.

2. To emphasize the feeling that the body is rooted to the earth, place a folded blanket over your thighs. A block just under your navel has a similar effect, as does an eye pillow.

3. If it's at all chilly in the room, cover up before coming into savasana. Use an unfolded yoga blanket or put on your sweater and socks. It's very difficult to relax when you are cold. 

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