by Ivy Rose ~
Ever since it found me, that auspicious April evening some years ago, my life is continually graced and transformed by yoga’s subtle teachings.
It hasn’t simply been the practice of yoga asana (postures) alone that’s been the catalyst of great change. It’s also been the process of taking the teachings of yoga off of my mat and into my moment to moment daily life. By learning to live more aligned with the principles and wisdom of yoga, I have created more room in my life for love, forgiveness, compassion, power, authenticity, gratitude and much more.
One of the most powerful and yet simple yoga poses is that of Savasana (corpse pose), in which yogis lay on their mats for a period of 10-20 minutes, well, like corpses. Many teachers feel that the foremost purpose of a sequence of yoga postures is to lead into and prepare the body, mind and spirit for the deeply relaxing experience of Savasana, as it’s an integration phase that allows the benefits of one’s practice to infiltrate into all aspects of our being.
Savasana is often likened to experiencing a “mini-death” each time we practice, for in Savasana we utterly let go of all we do not need and let our beings sink heavy into the earth.
Imagine that you have seeds planted with love in fertile soil, then Savasana is the safe womb of night where all rests, is nurtured and roots take hold. Savasana creates a sacred space so one can turn inward, rejuvenate, completely relax and let go.
The physiological rewards of Savasana alone are very impressive. It creates a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and fatigue of the body and mind. As well, Savasana gives the nervous system a much needed opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Mental benefits include a reduction of stress, anxiety, mild depression and insomnia. It also provides improvement of concentration, focus and memory.
When you consider how differently we react to situations when we come from a calm and centered place, how couldn’t incorporating this one pose into your daily life change you for the better?
To begin, lay comfortably on your back. For any lower back discomfort place a bolster under your knees. Have your legs spread mat-width apart and relax them so your feet roll outward. Lay your arms gently a short distance from your sides with your palms facing the sky.
Softly close your eyes, relax your face and deepen your breath into the depths of your belly. With each renewing inhale, imagine you’re bringing vital energy into each part of your body, beginning with your toes. As you scan in detail and breath into your entire body, let every part fully relax, grow heavy and melt through your skin and mat into Mother Earth for her to nourish.
Stay here for some time and simply be. After 10 – 20 minutes, feeling greater life force present in you, begin to bring your awareness back into your body by wiggling your fingers and toes. Slowly roll onto your right side and then use your hands to help you back into a seated position. Take a moment to feel this sense of rebirth and set an intention for the rest of your day.
As with any yoga pose, Savasana takes practice. It may sound easy but the practice of turning inward and creating complete relaxation of the body and mind does not come easily for most of us. I encourage you to try this pose for a series of days (hopefully more) to see if you notice any difference in yourself and your life.
I love to remind everyone (and myself) what my teacher Ally shares… No matter what your level of studentship of yoga is: “Yoga always meets you where you are, and never leaves you where it found you.”
Ivy is a Certified Pre-Natal, Post-Natal and Hatha Yoga Teacher. She has completed Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Gaiatri Yoga while journeying through Peru.
ART: A New Life, © Jayna Simpson. Jayna is the artist and owner of Painted Planet. Her work includes a variety of canvas paintings, murals and custom air-brushing. She has done artwork for homes, businesses, on furniture, cars, helmets and more. www.justmyspirit.net and www.paintedplanet.org
NOTE: This article was first published in November 2011 in © Mosaic Mind, Body and Spirit Magazine. This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to supplement your current health program, not to replace the care of a licensed medical doctor.