Savasana (Corpse Pose)
One of the final poses to end any yoga class, Savasana or Corpse pose can offer deep restoration for those who practice it. In Sanskrit, corpse pose is referred to as Savasana. “Savasana” (shah-VAHS-uh-nuh) is derived from two words; “Sava” meaning corpse and “asana” meaning pose. In this pose, Savasana offers a plethora of tranquility that goes far beyond normal relaxation.
Even though this pose may seem easy to perform, Savasana is one of the hardest poses to master. Although this pose doesn’t require as much flexibility or physical strength, Savasana emphasizes your self-control while challenging your body, mind, and spirit.
While many may find it hard to lie remotely still in this pose, Savasana is a great pose to practice engaging in the mindful awareness of your body without any distractions. It allows you to consciously space out and focus on your body’s natural breathing. By doing this, Savasana will provide you with a sense of mental clarity that will give your mind the freedom to explore your body from the inside out.
How to Do Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Follow these simple steps to help you master your Savasana pose:
Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms resting about six inches away from your body, palms facing up. Relax every part of your body and begin to close your eyes.
Tip: If you’d like, you can cover yourself with a blanket for added comfort.
As you close your eyes, begin taking long, deep breaths. Allow your body to become heavy as you feel yourself sink into the floor. As your body becomes heavier, keep in mind how your body rises and falls with each breath you take.
Starting from your toes moving towards the top of your head, mentally scan your body for any discomfort you may feel. Consciously begin to relax and release those areas of discomfort.
Once you are in a state of deep relaxation, allow peace and serenity to occupy your mind. Stay in this state of mind for 5 to 30 minutes.
To exit this pose, continue to breathe deeply as you begin to bring gentle movements back into your body by wiggling your toes and fingers. Reach your arms over your head and begin to bring your knees to your chest. Roll over to one side coming into the fetal position. When you’re ready, begin slowly lifting yourself up to a seated position. The head should always come up last.
Variations of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is a very imperative pose when ending your yoga sessions. Since it requires a bit of time practicing it, it’s important that you feel comfortable. If you have trouble concentrating, have lower back problems, or are practicing while pregnant follow these modifications to reduce the level of difficulty of the Savasana.
If you have trouble focusing or can’t concentrate under certain conditions like bright lights or too much noise, don’t be afraid to use props. Earplugs work very well to block out noisy environments, and eye pillows or a towel folded over your eyes will help block out bright lights.
If your lower back is tight or if you’re struggling with any back issues, it can be challenging to lie flat on your back. Try placing a pillow underneath your knees to help take tension off your pelvis. Doing this will allow your lower back and lumbar vertebrae to relax and release any discomfort.
For the expecting yogi mothers, lying completely flat in Savasana is not recommended because the weight of your uterus can compress major blood vessels, disrupting blood flow to your baby. So, instead place a bolster or pillow under your head and upper back, keeping your chest and head above your belly.
Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is more commonly used at the end of a yoga session to help your mind and body fully relax and take in your yoga workout at a cellular level. Lingering thoughts, distractions, and stress fade away, leaving your body feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Practicing Savasana will help increase a sense of self-awareness and interoception. Interoception is an understanding of what’s going on inside your body. By practicing Savasana, you will notice you’ll have the ability to be aware of things about your body you didn’t realize before, like the way you breathe or how fast your heart is beating.
Savasana is known to therapeutically reduce stress. When you’re under a lot of stress, your sympathetic nervous system releases a “flight or fight” response, which can overstimulate your body causing fatigue, depression, anxiety, and disease. Savasana stimulates your parasynthetic nervous system releasing a “rest and digest” response which can calm the body and reduce stress.
Savasana can also:
- Lower blood pressure
- Slow and regulate your breathing
- Decrease metabolic rate
- Reduce muscle tension
- Decrease and regulate your heart rate
The physical response of practicing Savasana can help:
- Reduce tension
- Relive anxiety and panic attack
- Reduce migraines
- Fight fatigue and insomnia
- Increase productivity and creativity
- Improve cognitive function, concentration, and memory
- Provides mental clarity and focus
The Do’s and Don’ts of Savasana Corpse Poses
With any pose, you should always try to maintain the correct posture and have the freedom to modify your pose to your personal preference. Follow these do’s and don’ts to make the most of your Savasana pose.
- Do modify Savasana if you have any lower back issues by placing a pillow or bolster underneath your knees.
- Do your best to remain relaxed. You should never feel tight or stiff in this pose.
- Don’t strain, this pose is about relaxation. Doing so will add stress to your back and other parts of your body.
- Don’t skip Savasana! It’s usually the last pose of your yoga routine. It allows your body to cool down after your workout.
Follow-Up Poses For Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Since Savasana is usually preferred or practiced at the end of a yoga routine as a cool down, it doesn’t have a follow-up pose. Although, sitting pranayama is a good follow up because after you perform Savasana you’re in a sitting position. Doing so can activate and balance your chakras and silence your thoughts.
Savasana Pose Recap
Savasana or corpse pose has an immense amount of benefits that can help your mind, body, and spirit. Savasana is known for reducing stress and promoting a sense of self-awareness. It allows you to form a relationship with your body and gain a deeper appreciation of its functions. The word “yoga” derived from the Sanskrit meaning “union” or “connection,” Savasana helps you build this connection by giving you a deeper understanding of how your body works.
Corpse Pose Yoga (Savasana) | Yoga Sequences, Benefits, Variations, and Sanskrit Pronunciation | Tummee.com. Tummeecom. 2018. Available at: https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/savasana. Accessed March 6, 2018.
Cranford T, Burgin T. Corpse. Yoga Basics. 2018. Available at: http://www.yogabasics.com/asana/corpse/. Accessed March 6, 2018.