By Erin Hanson
Savasana. Corpse. Final resting pose. The defining words indicating you may lay directly on the floor beneath you and close your eyes. Yes, this is an actual pose in yoga practice. And yes, it might be something that you have imagined doing in many a stressful circumstance - none of which may be deemed at the right time. And none of which you can shut the world out, if even with your senses, for a long enough duration of time to find that inner stillness where you are lulled into a peaceful state that forever changes the circumstances around you. Or so it seems when these moments arise where you would sooner check out than occupy the space that you are currently standing in.
This is why we "practice" savasana. This is exactly why we "perform" a pose to cultivate peace and a sense of stillness. Because next time you want to shut the world out and disconnect all of your senses, there might be a little bit of lasting peace from your practice that will provide you with enough internal silence to hear another option. A greater option that you, in fact, came up with all on your own. An option that you get to choose. Whether to choose your words, choose to walk away, choose to smile or choose to breathe deeply. It's all yours. The freedom of choice. This is what is at the core of the of savasana.
Here is a savasana practice that you can choose to do whenever you please. Or maybe you are inclined to lead someone else through this version with the guidance below:
Lie on your back, your legs long. Arms out at your sides with palms facing up. Close your eyes.
Gently rock your head from side to side, finding a comfortable spot in the middle. Tuck your chin slightly towards your chest and your shoulder blades under your back. Take a deep inhale through your nose, filling up every last inch of your lungs. Exhale with an open mouth sigh.
Begin to relax the space between your eyebrows. Soften the muscles in your face. Drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Relax your jaw.
Soften your shoulders and the space in the center of your chest. Feel the weight of your arms heavy on the ground beneath you. Relax your belly.
Soften your thighs. Feel your calves pressing into the Earth. And your feet heavy as they fall away from each other.
Rest here for as long as you would like. Let go of anything that no longer serves you and receive what you need more of in life.
As you begin to awaken your body, start by moving your fingertips and toes. Stretch your arms long overhead, reaching straight back behind you. Bring your hands together in a prayer position at your heart, rubbing your hands back and forth to create warmth. Place your hands over your eyes and take a deep breath in. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Take a deep breath into both hands. Feel your hands rise on an inhale, feel your hands fall on an exhale. Feel your own heart beating.
Slowly roll towards one side into a fetal position. Take a deep breath in and out. With your eyes closed, press yourself up into a comfortable seated position. Place your palms together in a prayer position at your heart. Soften your shoulders down, feel your spine tall and tuck your chin in slightly towards your chest. Inhale. Exhale. Take a moment to recognize the peace that you have created inside. End with gentle bow forward... Namaste.
About Erin Hanson
Erin is the founder of Live + Breathe. As a yoga instructor, she sets out to share this practice with the world. As a yoga student, she studies this practice as a humble beginner. During daytime hours, she designs remodel projects in the world of construction.