Every now and then, I fall off the wagon. I recognise that I need to re-incorporate corpse pose into my yoga practice. Writing a post about this pose will inspire me, and you too, if need be.
I first learned about corpse pose (savasana) from one of my yoga teachers, Martyn Jackson. As Martyn explained it, corpse pose isn’t meant to be in any way considered a morbid notion. It defines the ultimate state of letting go.
When we do savasana, we may rise from the pose feeling we’ve slept the sleep of the dead. Yet, afterwards we usually feel renewed.
You may be like me, a yogi who gives short shrift to relaxation. I’ll submit to doing savasana in someone else’s yoga class (sometimes under sufferance). Or, out of desperation, I’ll do a relaxation because I’m exhausted and need to do something radical to recover. I’ll pick myself up by the scruff of the neck, lie myself down on comfortable props and set a timer to ensure I stay until the relaxation reflex occurs.
What’s going on? It could be that relaxation is a counter cultural experience. In our society, we are pushing ourselves to be productive. But we are doing this to the point of wearing out our bodies, straining our relationships and even becoming unproductive.
Yoga teachers, too, suffer from believing more is better. We’ve strive to have a more advanced practice, bigger classes and worldwide renown. Make no mistake, twenty-first century yoga is competitive.
Corpse pose is just the practice to act as the wedge between our cultural pull to do ever more, and simply being.
Martyn used to say that savasana was the hardest of the poses to master – not only because we have to work to stay awake in it. What’s hard is the delicate balancing act. It is the exploration of being alive in the pose and simultaneously letting go of everything who we imagine ourselves to be.
That’s the point. It’s through the cessation of thought activity, pacifying our senses and resting the body, we come to abide in our spiritual hearts.
We get to come home.
Here’s a recording of savasana just for you on youtube, my voice, my images.