Yoga Poses

Savasana: The most difficult pose in yoga

What makes Savasana (aka Corpse Pose) so gosh darn difficult? After an hour and a half or so of pushing, pulling, stretching, and flinging the body all over the place, many yoga classes end with 1-5 minutes of Savasana. To the untrained eye, Savasana appears to be the simplest of all asanas — you’re just lying on the ground after all.

I find this pose quite difficult though, and for a number of reasons. Getting the pose “right” physically is not so challenging, and I won’t get into the particulars here of just how one’s body should be aligned in Savasana. Rather, what I’d like to comment on here is the great difficulty that I, and others presumably, have in bringing the same stillness to the mind that is brought to the body through the yoga practice.

Several things tend to happen to the mind when one is lying in Savanasa. Personally, my mind often drifts off to other things like what I’d like to eat for dinner, what work I have to do that evening, or maybe some asana that I didn’t quite get during the practice that I’d like to have another shot at. Alternatively, sometimes my mind just drifts off and almost falls asleep in Savasana. I doubt very much that either of these mental states — e.g. the overactive and the underactive — are appropriate for Savasana. Rather, in my yoga study, and on very rare occasions in my own practice, I’ve learned that “getting it just right” in Savasana amounts to allowing the mind to be “on” but also perfectly still. After all, the asana practice is intended to prepare us for meditation, so the mind should probably be in an appropriate state to transition into sitting meditation when we are coming to the end of our asana practice in Savasana.

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2 thoughts on “Savasana: The most difficult pose in yoga

  1. I’m probably not supposed to do this, but I tend to practice some pranayama while in Savasana. It gives me just the right amount of balance between attention and distraction to regulate my breathing slightly.

  2. Hi Carl, thanks for your post. I think it is perfectly ok to do Pranayama in Savasana. I have been practicing Ujjayi-breathing during Savasana for years. My usual practice starts with asanas and continues – without any break in between – with meditiation zazen style before I finish up with ten minutes of Savasana. With my breath well under control after my zazen session it is natural to continue with Ujjayi in Savasana: It keeps the mind alert and calm, focussed on the in and out of my breath.

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