8.17.2011

Asana of the Week: Savasana

This week, we'll look at Savasana (Corpse Pose), sometimes called Mrtasana (Death Pose) or less morbidly, the "Sponge."  This pose, in which the practitioner lies on his or her back, legs and arms open enough to allow air and energy to flow, is the final pose of the asana practice.  It is a resting pose, to be sure, but it is not without it's challenges.

Savasana is a continuation of the meditation.  The purpose here is to relax -- to surrender control of body and breath -- without losing the awareness cultivated through the asana or pranayama practice.  This is much more difficult than it sounds.

BKS Iyengar has written of this pose that "the stresses of modern life are a strain on the nerves, for which Savasana is the best antidote."  Savasana not only removes fatigue from the body but, when practiced with intention, quiets the mind and strengthens the practitioner's ability to enter a relaxed, meditative state.  This, in turn, heightens one's ability to function in an environment of total assault on the senses, something that many of us face on a daily basis whether we realize it or not.  (Forget battle or natural disasters, have you been to a mall lately?)

I find that consistent practice of Savasana for at least a few minutes a day adds significant depth and perspective to my practice, as a whole.  While the idea of death as relief may be an uncomfortable subject for some, it is important to remember that Savasana is the reward, the moment of transition.  While it is tempting to skip the final posture and get on with your day after practice, to forgo rest or allow the mind to wander is to relinquish the fruits of your labor.  So why not stay a while and enjoy?

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for tackling this pose...I often end up skipping it because I practise at home and some chore, or just getting out the door, is calling my name. I'm probably focusing too hard on getting stronger and better, and really, resting is equally important for that. I'll try changing my mindset - thinking of it as a challenge might help ;-)

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  2. You know, it took me such a long time to really get savasana. I mean it seems like the easiest pose but it really is one of the most important to allow your body to set back into the floor. When I first started I just thought it was "resting time" Now I see it as a very important pose that helps me take in everything I just did

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