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The 5 Things To Do In Yoga Class During Savasana (Corpse Pose)

May 12, 2015

savsana groupAlthough it looks like a room full of sleeping adults, there’s hardly any of that going on at the end of yoga class. Savasana is the most important few moments of your practice (if not your day) so let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on.

Here’s a step by step guide of how to practice Corpse Pose.

  • 1. Assume the position.

I turned to Mr Iyengar for details on technique. In Light on Yoga, he says:

“Lie flat on the back full length like a corpse. Keep the hands a little away from the thighs, with the palms up. Close the eyes. If possible place a black cloth folder four times over the eyes. Keep the heels together and the toes apart. (Note. This does not mean heels are touching, but merely facing towards each other.)

  • 2. Get comfortable.

Grab some yoga props like blankets, bolsters, eye pillows, sandbags and whatever else helps your body relax comfortably on the floor. Is your back a little achy from that shoulderstand? Place a bolster under your knees. Are you a little chilly? Put on your socks and place a blanket over your body. Don’t spare any expense (but be mindful of disrupting those around you). Your teacher can help you find a comfortable shape. Just ask her for help. Some days class can be so intense I just take plotz-asana, which involves just falling to the floor out of fatigue and relief that class is over. On those days I skip the props.

  • 3. Relax your body.

Once you’re comfortable it’s time to relax every muscle in your body. No clenching, guarding, straining, stretching or flexing required during this pose. Letting go of all the effort in your body, conscious and unconscious, can take up to ten minutes, so don’t be in a rush. Lightly run your attention across your whole body and give the full weight of your muscles and bones down to the floor.

  • 4. Notice your thoughts.

Once your body becomes still, you might become more aware of your thoughts. Remember you’re not here to empty your mind because that’s impossible. Your mind will always be going as long as you’re alive (phew!). But sometimes your mind races like a busy traffic intersection while other days feel like a lazy Sunday stroll through the park. Either way, it’s how we attach ourselves to these thoughts that matters. Don’t get pulled away! Take a moment, as an observer, to notice the thoughts that come and go as you lie here.

  • 5. Practice presence.

As you lie still, notice if you want to fidget. Fidgeting is a trick the mind plays to distract you from the moment you’re in. Notice if you’re making to-do lists or meal-planning (my personal favorite thought) or having pretend discussions with people from past or future encounters. Here’s your big chance. You have an opportunity right in these moments when you’re noticing these distractions of the mind to a) acknowledge them and b) come back to relaxing your body.

Go ahead, give it a shot. And remember, it’s a practice, not a performance.

 

 

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