The literal meaning of Savasana is “Corpse pose.” “Sava” meaning corpse, and “asana” meaning pose. Savasana destroys the fatigue caused by practising the other asanas and removes mental agitations thereby paving way for mental relaxation and body relaxation.
Death becomes us…
As a yoga teacher, I often notice students fidgeting and squirming (as I used to do) during relaxation. Sometimes I see a few students open and close their eyes, wondering, “What is supposed to be happening here?” Some even feel a certain anxiety in “just lying” there. What I have learned on this often-bumpy road of relaxation is that being a corpse gives one an extraordinary opportunity to clean, to clear and to start anew.
**The practice of savasana is the yogic way of letting unwanted elements within us die, empowering us to surrender to life. A relaxed consciousness permits us to fully live moment-to-moment experiences: the mirror to the soul gets polished, the heart opens and our inner teacher awakens. Ironically, being a corpse is the yogi’s quintessential wake-up call.**
As part of our daily sadhana (spiritual practice), savasana, like many Eastern practices, is a way of preparing for death. This includes the death of the body as well as the surrender of ego attachment.
A practice for peace…
Sometimes overlooked, often underestimated, the practice of savasana integrates asana into all layers of consciousness. But its more subtle and profound payoff is the experience of relaxation in everything we do. When the mind is constantly working, there’s no awareness of one’s creativity, potential or joy.
The Bhagavad Gita states that the “highest happiness comes upon the yogi whose mind is calmed.” Swami Rama said, “A quiet mind is the foundation for cultivating a joyful mind; happiness is always preceded by peace.” Translation: an uptight yogi is an unhappy yogi.
Therefore, it’s important to remember that when we lie in savasana, we are exercising the essential component of our inner peace practice.
Benefits of savasana…
Seasoned yogis know that savasana is not as easy as it looks. To invigorate and refresh both mind and body through conscious relaxation requires patience, mindfulness and alertness. Therefore, this seemingly easy posture is one of the most difficult to master, yet one of the best for preparing for meditation.
However, there are two common obstacles that can prevent us from reaping its benefits: sleepiness and a restless mind. If you find yourself getting drowsy while in savasana, increase the rate and depth of your breathing. If your mind is restless or wondering, focus your attention on each of the bodily sensations you’re experiencing.
An auspicious relaxation involves numerous physiological changes, which reduce the body’s energy loss, remove stress, lower respiration and pulse rates, and rest the whole system. The result is deep and nourishing repose that will naturally extend into meditation or be felt throughout the activities of your day.
The immediate result of savasana is a state of near-perfect harmony coupled with quiet energy.
My prescription for a “good day” is to take savasana once a day for at least five minutes… because when you practice dying a little bit every day, it will literally change your living.