In this blog post, I want to share what Corpse Pose (generally the last pose in a yoga class where you get to lay down and be still) means to me personally.
For many years, my yoga practice was fairly vigorous. I wanted to stay in tip top physical shape and defined myself by how hard I could practice as well as teach. I practiced with frenzied enthusiasm and taught the same way with little to no regard for those who could not keep up. The Corpse Pose was simply something one was supposed to include at the end of practice just to say it was indeed included. In my classes, it was about a 2 minute rest.
Those were the “early years”.
Thank the stars, or whomever, that as I aged, I realized that the Corpse Pose is the most important pose in the practice as well as one of the most challenging. I do believe that when you turn 60 your brain automatically starts to understand the importance of quiet rest, but that is another blog post altogether.
Suffice it to say, I have grown. What was once cumbersome, if you are a yoga teacher this has to be incorporated at the end of every class, became the necessary culmination or “sealing of the practice” for every single practice whether it was ten minutes long or ninety.
So, just what is Corpse Pose? Well, it is a lot… and, then more.
Savasana, the Sanskrit word for Corpse Pose, signifies the death (hence, the name of the pose… corpse) of the ego or the turning away from things that do not lead to a higher way of being in the world. It is the place where you rest and give the posture, breathing, concentration part of your practice a place to work or come to fruition. It is where the deeper part of the practice has an opportunity to take hold.
How do your practice Corpse Pose? Well, you can practice it at the end of your yoga session or as a stand alone posture.
Lay on the floor with your legs wide apart and rotated out. Bring your arms away from your torso with the palms rotated up. Think about bringing the body as close to symmetry as possible. Allow yourself to relax and sink down into the support of your mother, the earth. Then, let anything not touching the earth, relax into the support of the space around you. See if you can intend to feel supported above and below as well as within. Stay here for as many moments as you can. Try to be present with physical sensations, emotions and thoughts without too much ado… no judgement. Or, if you have judgement, just being aware that it is present. When you are ready to come out of Corpse Pose, roll to your side bowing into your wonderful and perfect sacred self. Come to sitting and give gratitude offerings for this lovely pose of rest.
You will soon discover, as did I, that this pose of deep relaxation and rest, will enhance the rest of your practice as well as the rest of your life. If you do no other yoga practice… do this. The rewards are deep, vast, and facilitate higher levels of consciousness. Don’t take my word, do the practice consistently and see for yourself.
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