Asana of the Month: Savasana (Corpse Pose)


Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. Contributed by Danielle Polen

Psycotherapist and yoga teacher Michael Stone writes: “At the end of our asana practice we lie down, feet fallen outward, breath long, hands facing the sky, for savasana, corpse pose. By all accounts, corpse pose is considered the most difficult posture, as we posture the mind and body to imitate a corpse. ‘Most difficult for students,’ says Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, ‘not waking, not sleeping.’… Most of the time, we live in loops of distraction. Patanjali calls this avidya, or ignorance. Ignorance is related to the act of avoidance. In savasana, however, we need not avoid. We simply notice, with evenly hovering attention, whatever shows up, and then allow it to pass on, to die, so that we can arrive in the present moment. Savasana offers the possibility of ‘a small death, every moment, every day,’ says Pattabhi Jois.”

My teacher, Sarah Powers, observes that savasana is “where we daily practice giving over our attachments to our particular gender, to our history, to our plans, to our bodies, and in little ways, walk into the mystery of what that means. Who are we without our bodies? Each day that you do a practice and you let go a little, you’re practicing for the possibility of continuing to let go more and more. If we let go a little, we’ll have a little peace, as the Theravada monks say, and if you let go fully, you’ll have full peace.”

Savasana (Corpse Pose):
Sava = corpse
Asana = pose, posture

Benefits: (according to yogajournal.com)

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Relaxes the body
  • Reduces headache, fatigue and insomnia
  • Helps to lower blood pressure
Cautions/Contraindications:
  • For back discomfort, the pose can be done with the knees bent and the feet on the floor, or with the knees supported on a bolster
  • During pregnancy, raise the head and chest
Preparatory Poses:
  • Savasana should conclude your practice

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:

  • Absolutely none!

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