CORPSE POSE or RESTING POSE

14 Dec

SAVASANA

Intention

Is to create an asana where the body is as still as a corpse, totally relaxed, the mind is still and the breath is soft and relaxed

Benefits

  • Relaxes the entire physical body which is supported by the floor
  • Calms the mind inducing surrender and release
  • Savasana is the physical foundation for Yoga nidra
  • Allows deep abdominal vertical breathing that promotes the PNS parasympathetic nervous system
  • Aids digestion
  • Believed to balance the Doshas
  • Rejuvenates and revitalizes
  • Contraindications
  • Colds and flu that create excess mucous
  • Croup and bronchitis sufferers need to lie with the head raised higher than the chest
  • Coughing
  • Sciatica and lower back pain
  • Sacroiliac injury or inflammation
  • Pregnancy because after the first trimester it is important not to lie on the back
  • Low blood pressure that causes dizziness
  • Tendency to fall asleep or snoring

Teaching technique

  1. Lay supine on the mat with the pelvis resting evenly on the floor, the legs extended with the heels of the feet resting on the floor wider than the hips and the outer blades of the feet dropped down towards the floor
  2. Activate Mulabandha or the pelvic floor muscles and draw the pubic bone towards the navel to stretch, straighten and lengthen the lumbar spine
  3. Draw the scapulas towards the spine to rest evenly on the floor so that the chest and the rib cage open
  4. Place the back of the arms on the floor at an angle to the torso with the palms of the hands facing towards the ceiling
  5. Draw the chin towards the sternum to stretch, lengthen and open the cervical spine and to stretch, straighten and lengthen the thoracic spine
  6. With the chin lifted towards the chest check the midline linear alignment of chin to sternum, navel and pubic bone then gently lay the head back onto the floor with the chin and nose still in line
  7. With the body correctly aligned and the eyes closed focus the mind into the centre of the forehead (Chidakesha), roll the tongue into Kechari Mudra and connect the thumb and forefinger into Chin Mudra
  8. Use gentle abdominal vertical breathing focusing upon extending the exhalation to promote the PNS parasympathetic nervous system and allow the body to totally relax
  9. Still the mind, release its attachment to the outer environment and allow the mind to drift down into a mental space between consciousness and Unconsciousness where it is still able to hear instructions from the teacher

Modifications

  • Place a rolled blanket or bolster under the knees to release the lower back
  • Place the feet wider than the hips to release tension in the hips
  • Place a covering over the eyes to stop the light penetrating the eyelids
  • A folded blanket can be wrapped around the forehead to block the ears creating a quieter space
  • A folded blanket can be placed under the spine and head to lift and open the chest
  • A cushion, folded blanket or bolster can be placed under the head to if the cervical spinal curve is exaggerated or C7 is prominent causing the chin to drop back away from the sternum
  • A cushion can be used to lift and raise the head higher than the chest
  • A blanket can be placed over the entire body to keep the body warm when its internal temperature drops

Common misalignments

  • The head is tilted or rolled to the side so the head loses its postural alignment with the torso
  • The torso is not aligned correctly on the floor because one side of the torso longer than the other so the body loses its linear midline from nose chin to pubic bone
  • The pelvis is not neutral and allowed to roll into APT anterior pelvic tilt creating an exaggerated lumbar curve (lordosis) this can be caused by tight hamstrings and relieved by a bolster under the knees
  • The legs are not extended at the same angle as each other and the outer blades of the feet are not equally rolled out towards the floor

Counter pose

As Savasana is the last yoga pose of your personal Yoga asana practice, there is not a counter pose to be practiced. The intention of this asana is to create a deep state of relaxation in both the mind and the body.

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