In spite of its creepy name, Corpse pose -- Savasana -- has always been one of my favorites. Years ago, when I began my yoga practice and struggled through each class, Savasana was the one pose I was confident I could do correctly. Lay on the floor with my eyes closed? Easy-peasy.
While corpse pose may not be physically challenging, many teachers call it the most important pose of class because it allows the mind and body to integrate the benefits of yoga.
Here are five life-affirming benefits that simple Savasana delivers:
1. Stress relief. The body holds stress in the form of muscle contraction, or tension. Whether the source is emotional, intellectual, or physical, the result is the same. Stress is linked to many health problems, and learning to release tension is a valuable practice. As you lay on your back in Savasana, allow your muscles to melt into the floor. Let your bones feel heavy. Let your body and mind relax, releasing any stress you’re carrying.
2. Self acceptance. After working in class to improve form, balance, strength, and flexibility... surrender. In corpse pose there is no striving, no struggle. Allow your mind to take a break from planning the future or reviewing the past. Surrender to the present moment. It takes practice to accept yourself just as you are.
3. Experiencing peace. When we release tension and surrender to the moment, we can experience peace. Daily life is filled with so much busy-ness that it’s easy to forget what peace feels like. Corpse pose is an invitation to slow down and be peaceful.
4. Connecting with your breath. Laying on the floor, let your belly soften and feel your lungs inspire themselves. Breathing is something we easily take for granted. In Savasana, notice how effortless and delicious each breath is. Enjoy it.
5. Making friends with death. Take a few minutes to rest in peace. Even though death is universal and natural, it can be an uncomfortable topic because it is often associated with pain, fear, and loss. Yet, Savasana is peaceful and unintimidating. It feels good. In Corpse pose we embody peace as we acknowledge our own mortality.
Coming out of Savasana feels like coming back to life. As you deepen your breath and slowly resume the pace of every-day life, notice how good it feels to be alive.