The Corpse Pose or Savasana is the classic relaxation pose, practiced before each session, between asanas and in Final Relaxation. It looks deceptively simple, but it is in fact one of the most difficult asanas to do well and one, which changes and develops with practice. At the end of an asana session in your Corpse Pose will be more complete than at the beginning because the other asanas will have progressively stretched and relaxed your muscles. When you first lie down, look to see that you are lying symmetrically as symmetry provides proper space for all parts to relax. Now start to work in the pose. Rotate your legs in and out, then let them fall gently out to the sides. Do the same with your arms. Rotate the spine by turning your head from side to side to center it. Then stretching yourself out, as though someone were pulling your head away from your feet, your shoulders down and away from your neck your legs down and away from your pelvis. Let gravity embrace you. Feel your weight pulling you deeper into relaxation, melting your body into the floor. Breathe deeply and slowly from abdomen (right), riding up and down on the breath, sinking deeper with each exhalation. Feel how your abdomen swells and falls. Many important physiological changes are taking place, reducing the bodies energy’s loss, removing stress, lowering your respiration and pulse rate, and resting the whole system. As you enter deep relaxation, you will feel your mind grow clear and detached.
The front Corpse Pose
Lie down on your front, legs slightly apart, toes touching, and allow your heels to fall out to the sides. Make a pillow with your hands. Lengthen the body, tense and relax the muscles. Feel your body sinking into the floor as you exhale. Use this pose after any asana performed on the abdomen (such as the Cobra or Bow), alternating on which side you place your head.
The back Corpse Pose
Lie down on your back, legs slightly apart, toes touching, and allow your heels to fall out to the sides. Make a pillow with your hands. Lengthen the body, tense and relax the muscles. Feel your body sinking into the floor as you exhale. Use this pose after any asana performed on the abdomen (such as the Cobra or Bow), alternating on which side you place your head.
The Corpse Pose (right)
Lie on your back, feel spread about 18 inches apart, and hands about 6 inches from your sides, palms up. Ease yourself into the pose, making sure the body is symmetrical. Let your thighs, knees and toes turn outward. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
To check that you are breathing correctly, exhale and place your hands on your abdomen, fingers loosely interlocked.
Your yoga practice will help to be more in touch with your body, able to recognize tension and relaxation and thus to bring them under your conscious control. At the end of session of asanas, you should spend at least ten minutes in Final Relaxation. During this time, you relax each part of the body in turn. But in order to experience relaxation, you must first experience tension. Working up from the feet, as shown below, you first tense and lift each part, then drop (but don’t place) it down. Now let your mind travel throughout the body, commanding each part to relax. Let yourself go. Sink deep into the quiet pool of the mind. To bring your consciousness back to your body, gently move your fingers and toes, take a deep breath and as your exhale, sit up.
Feet and legs
Lift your right foot just an inch off the floor. Tense the leg, hold, then let it drop. Repeat on the other side.
Hands and arms
Raise your right hand an inch off the floor. Make a fist, tense the arm, then let it drop. Repeat on the other side. Relax.
Clench your buttocks tightly together, lift the hips a little way off the floor and hold. Relax and drop them down.
Tense and lift up the back and chest, keeping your hips and head on the floor. Relax and drop them down.
Lift your shoulders and hunch them up tight around your neck. Let them drop, relaxed. Now pull each arm, in turn, down alongside the body, and relax.
Tuck in your chin slightly and roll the head gently from side to side. Find a comfortable position in the center for the head to lie, and then relax.
After practicing the sequence shown, visualize your body in your mind’s eye, and repeat this simple formula mentally: “I relax the toes, I relax the toes. The toes are relaxed. I relax the calves, I relax the calves. The calves are relaxed.” Continue on up the body, applying the formula to each part along the way – the stomach, lungs, heart, jaw, scalp, brain, and soon. Feel a wave of relaxation rising up your body as you guide your awareness through each part. Each time you inhale, feel a wave of Oxygen flowing down to your feet; each time you exhale, feel the tension flowing out of your body, leaving your mind like a deep, still lake, without a ripple. Now dive deep into the center of this lake, deep within yourself, and experience your true nature.