Savasana, aka corpse pose, requires mad skills. It asks for a willingness to let go and surrender. It’s an invitation to practice a daily death, not in a literal sense, but as a spiritual practice. Beloved teacher, Ravi Ravindra, often shares a quote from the Sufis, “If you die before you die, you do not die when you die.” This is the ultimate invitation—to die a little, to soften the grip of the mind and body, and to empty and slip into something more comfortable like conscious relaxation.
Here are five tips to support you on your savasana journey.
1. Commit Wholeheartedly
Bring your whole self to the experience. Embrace your savasana with wide-open arms, like you would a dear friend or lover. Allow yourself to get into it fully. Ask yourself: What if this was your last Savasana ever? How would you approach it? Could you be a little more comfortable? Could you take up a little more space? Make a sincere effort and trust the process.
2. Create the Space
Create the physical conditions for a satisfying and successful deep relaxation. Let your space be clean, clear, cozy, safe, and quiet. If you’re home, find a room where you can shut the door and be alone, even if for just a few minutes. Often the weight of a blanket can serve to ground the body and help communicate to the nervous system that it’s safe to relax.
Often when the body becomes more settled and still, you can become more aware of just how crazy, wild, and active the mind really is. It can be relentless. The techniques of Yoga were originally designed to help quiet and calm the habitual chatter of the mind, allowing one to soften layers of tension and experience a deeper sense of inner spaciousness and connection. Your homework: experiment with this emptying. Lay your favorite latest worry down. Give it to the earth or even to a piece of paper. Allow yourself to empty as much as you can as you move in the direction of corpse pose.
4. Practice Not Knowing
There’s a Buddhist saying, “Not knowing is most intimate.” Consider approaching your savasana with a sense of curiosity and wonderment, as if you were embarking on an epic journey through the vast wilderness. Like a river, allow yourself to be carried by the Mystery. Enter a realm where time and space fall away, or as John O’Donahue so beautifully writes, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of it’s own unfolding.“
5. Track Your Experience
Try journaling or sharing your experience with a friend to help digest, assimilate, and integrate your practice into your daily life. Tracking your experience brings you into relationship with your inner landscape of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and emotions. It also helps you know it really happened.
Alana is a yoga teacher and the proud owner of Ojai Yoga Shala in Ojai, California. You can practice with her on Yoga Anytime in Good Morning Yoga, Start Yoga, The Savasana Challenge, Too Tight to Stretch, and Senior Yoga.