If you look at the picture, you may wonder what the challenge of this pose is. This posture is called the Corpse Asana and is a supine pose; a pose where you lie on your back with your face towards the ceiling. De Corpse Asana is the prototype for a supinating pose. The entire back of the body forms the support surface so that all muscles can relax. But what is the challenge in that?
What is the Corpse pose?
This is a basic posture lying on the back. In yoga jargon this asana is called “Savasana”. Sava means corpse, which is why this asana is called the Corpse-pose. The biggest challenge in this pose is gravity and mental focus. This asana is said to be the easiest posture to implement but the most difficult to fully control. Other yoga poses require an (active) effort of muscles, tendons and joints. In the Corpse pose, the starting point is to let go of tension in every part of the body and to clear the mind. This makes Savasana the most challenging asana for every yogi.
What is the effect of the Corpse pose?
Savasana has the lowest center of gravity and is the starting position of all abdominal poses. It’s also the pose in which an asana ends. In order to move in a position from the supine position, musculature of the front of the body is needed, and that is why many abdominal strengthening exercises start from this pose. The deep state of conscious relaxation that Savasana gives is even better than sleep. In Savasana the body is completely at rest and the metabolism is free of gravity, which makes it possible to practice difficult breathing exercises; being fully aware of your breathe.
For many people it’s difficult to completely relax. Many want to lay down symmetrically. However, every human body is naturally asymmetrical, a certain surrender is necessary to actually experience physical relaxation. To be able to fully relax requires acceptance that the body is as it is, rather than the way you want it to be. In addition, clearing your mind is a second big challenge. On average, we have 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day, to convert the mind and to stop ‘thinking’ is for many the most difficult part of this asana.
This is how you get into Savasana
You can do the Corpse pose by lying down on the floor. The legs and feet are slightly apart and the arms are a bit away from the body with the palms up. When your lower back is sensitive, an alternative is to keep the legs bent by putting the feet on the floor or placing a pillow underneath the knees. The hands can possibly be placed on the stomach to bring attention to natural breathing. Focus on your breath, this helps to clear the mind of thoughts. When we lie still, it is tempting to go back to the thoughts that go through our minds. By repeatedly turning back the attention to breathing and by breathing towards your hands, you manage to clear your mind and experience complete relaxation. These three tips will help you to do Savasana with more ease.
- Close your eyes to excluded the environment around you and you are more aware of the current moment.
- When you are just in Savasana it can help to sigh a number of times. By breathing deeply through the nose and exhaling through your mouth, the body relaxes.
- During this pose, music is often played to help to keep the focus on the breathe and clearing the mind of thoughts. Scientifically proven, the music track ‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union has a great relaxing effect. The secret of the number is the number of beats per minute. It has a rhythm that starts at 60 beats and slowly slows down to 50 beats per minute. As you listen, your heartbeat naturally slows down until it is has the same rhythm of the beat. That leads to a reduction in blood pressure. Because there is no repetitive melody, your brain can completely shut down, because it cannot predict what will follow next. Listen to the song here and experience the peace of mind it brings.