I know what you're thinking. Really? Savasana? The one where we lay down and basically take a nap?

That's right.

You might think this is the easiest pose that yoga has to throw at you, but in my opinion it’s actually the most challenging. In a world where we are constantly on the move, connected, and multitasking; how do we stop and do nothing? How do we clear the mind? Learning to let go is a challenge that even the most sage monks have struggled with through the ages.

Some Background:

Savasana can be broken down to Sava (Corpse) asana (Pose). Literally Corpse Pose. While it may sound morbid, the intention is a conscious act of dying, letting go, and becoming one with your spirit. When we transition out of Savasana we often roll to the side with bent knees (a fetal position) and it's like we are being re-born.

Here’s How:

  1. Slowly lie down onto your back, using whatever props you like. Maybe you place a blanket under your head or a bolster under your knees. Feel free to even cover yourself with a blanket, or use an eye pillow to block out light and encourage your senses to go within. Close your eyes.
  2. Once you have your props in place, gently lift one leg up a few inches off the floor. Rotate the toes out, then lengthen that leg out and down until it rests comfortably on the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
  3. Do the same with your arms. Gently lifting one arm up a few inches, turning the palm to face the ceiling, and then lengthening it out and down until it rests comfortably on the floor. Repeat with the other arm. 
  4. Take a deep breath in. And let it out. Now, soften that space between the eyes, and let that softness erase any expression that might be on the face. Slowly and methodically, release any tension that might be present in the body, all the way from the crown of the head to the very tips of the toes.
  5. If you find your mind wandering, come back to the breath. Slowly inhaling and exhaling. Use aromatherapy, by spritzing lavender hydrosol (flower water), around the room. You can even play soft music to block out the sounds of the outside world.
  6. Rest here as long as you can. Whether it's 5 or 35 minutes, your body and mind will benefit from the pause. Allowing you to tackle life’s daily challenges with more consciousness and clarity.

The real key is not to beat yourself up if you find yourself thinking of the errands you have to run, or reliving an argument you may have had with a loved one. It’s even okay if you feel self-conscience. It’s totally normal to get caught up in our own stories. That’s exactly why we practice Savasana. So we can learn the difference between our perception, and our reality.

Kristin Henningsen, CH, RYT, IYT of Banyan Moon Botanicals blends community herbalism and yoga therapeutics in the heart of Montpelier, VT.

This article was republished from Banyan Moon Botanicals.

See also:
Yoga For Travel
Plant Spirit Yoga: A Conversation With Lydia Russell