What’s the point?
Savasana (corpse pose) is one of the few poses shared by almost every yoga class. It is a time of deep relaxation and for some, an opportunity to settle into the stillness. Sometimes students are serenaded with snores or the sounds of scratch-scratch, wriggle-wriggle, sniff-sniff, and it takes some effort to get where you want to be: nowhere. Other times people can wrap themselves in serene silence just by closing their eyes. Savasana is usually taught as a guided progressive physical relaxation that engages the mind and lures it step by step into the land of the tranquil.
Savasana actually has many layers and is one of the most important asanas in class. There are the physical benefits brought on by that deep relaxation; there is the kinaesthetic release and processing after the active part of the class; and there is, hopefully, a short burst of deep peace.
For me, though, the magic of the corpse pose has all to do with concept of the mini death. Every time you lie on that mat, it is an opportunity to yoke and unite with the universe (or your God), with the moment, and with your authentic self. Every savasana allows you to shed not just your physical confines, but all the self- and socially-constructed baggage you lug around that prevents you from being all you can. Each time you do this pose, you can allow your true self to just unfold and be.
Every savasana is a mini death. With each mini death, there is an opportunity to experience:
– What it would be like to have no roles, responsibilities and expectations of yourself.
– What it would be like to have no past to regret and no future over which to fret. It is the ultimate experience of now.
– The state of having no emotions by which to get thrown.
– A moment when the vrittis (thought patterns) cease rolling over and over in your mind.
– A time without physical pain and other physical responses.
– The irrelevance of old patterns of behaviour, the old stories, labels and attachments.
– The ego rendered useless.
Focusing on just one of these elements is enough to begin the process of deep yoga. Each savasana is really an invitation to experience what life on AND off the mat could be like.
What other opportunities does the mini death pose present to you?
Zali Nash is an Australian writer and yoga teacher living in Moscow for a few years. You can dig your pearly whites into more of Zali’s articles at her website and blog Path to Contentment.