I’ve often heard yoga teachers say the hardest posture is the one where you lie down at the end.
The official name in Sanskrit for the lying down pose is ‘savasana’ which is pronounced ‘shav-ass-anna’. You might be more familiar with name ‘corpse pose’.
It might sound ludicrous, given the amazing positions yoga can get you in to, the hardest pose of all is just lying down. There is some logic to this claim, though, which I hope I’ll explain in this quick yoga guide to ‘lying down’:
How to get yourself in the perfect corpse pose
1. Lie down on a yoga mat
2. Make sure your palms are facing up and your hands are on the mat. Your hands face up as the backs of your hands have fewer nerve endings than your palms, so with your palms up, you’re cutting down the amount of information being sent to your brain. It’s the same reason for having your hands on the mat rather than on the floor, it’s all to cut down any new information that would be sent to your brain if your hands were on a different material (like the floor)
3. Now check you’re lying in a straight line. The best way to do this is to lift your head up and check your chest bone, belly button and centre of your pelvis are all in a straight line as you look down your body. Now is the time to make any adjustments
4. Your feet and legs should be relaxed, flopping out to the side. As with your hands, your feet should be on the mat (not the floor) and it’s ok to have socks on if your feet get cold quickly
5. Do a mental scan of your body and make any adjustments to enable you to be more comfortable. Key spots to check are your lower back and shoulders. Can you move your shoulders down? Can you adjust your pelvis to make yourself more comfortable?
6. Now hopefully you are lying in a straight line and are as relaxed as possible. Now the trick is to relax completely and try to not move
7. This is where the pose gets its reputation – not only is your body relaxed but your breathing and your mind are to be relaxed too
8. Stay in this relaxed state for as long as you have the time to
9. Once you’re ready to come out of the pose, start with a subtle physical movement such as wiggling your toes or moving your fingers
10. When you’re ready, take a deep breath in and stretch your hands over your head
11. Bring your knees up to your chest and roll over on to your side
12. After a few moments, push yourself up with your hands to a seated position.
As you can see there’s more to it than just lying down! Corpse pose is definitely one that requires practice but being able to completely relax your body, breathing and mind is a pretty powerful technique and is just as important a part of your yoga practice as the more physical poses.