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Corpse Pose

Savasana

savasana_248

(shah-VAHS-anna)
sava = corpse

This pose is also called Mrtasana (pronounced mrit-TAHS-anna, mrta = death)

Step by Step

In Savasana it's essential that the body be placed in a neutral position. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and lean back onto your forearms. Lift your pelvis slightly off the floor and, with your hands, push the back of the pelvis toward the tailbone, then return the pelvis to the floor. Inhale and slowly extend the right leg, then the left, pushing through the heels. Release both legs, softening the groins, and see that the legs are angled evenly relative to the mid-line of the torso, and that the feet turn out equally. Narrow the front pelvis and soften (but don't flatten) the lower back.

With your hands lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and release the back of the neck down toward the tailbone. If you have any difficulty doing this, support the back of the head and neck on a folded blanket. Broaden the base of the skull too, and lift the crease of the neck diagonally into the center of the head. Make sure your ears are equidistant from your shoulders.

Reach your arms toward the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor. Rock slightly from side to side and broaden the back ribs and the shoulder blades away from the spine. Then release the arms to the floor, angled evenly relative to the mid-line of torso. Turn the arms outward and stretch them away from the space between the shoulder blades. Rest the backs of the hands on the floor as close as you comfortably can to the index finger knuckles. Make sure the shoulder blades are resting evenly on the floor. Imagine the lower tips of the shoulder blades are lifting diagonally into your back toward the top of the sternum. From here, spread the collarbones.

In addition to quieting the physical body in Savasana, it's also necessary to pacify the sense organs. Soften the root of the tongue, the wings of the nose, the channels of the inner ears, and the skin of the forehead, especially around the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows. Let the eyes sink to the back of the head, then turn them downward to gaze at the heart. Release your brain to the back of the head.

Stay in this pose for 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of practice. To exit, first roll gently with an exhalation onto one side, preferably the right. Take 2 or 3 breaths. With another exhalation press your hands against the floor and lift your torso, dragging your head slowly after. The head should always come up last.

Watch a video demonstration of how to set up for Corpse Pose


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Reader Comments

Hatha Girl

Easy to do, but if you have back/neck problems it's difficult. A rolled up towel or pillow helps. @ Eric, In this position your back normally isn't flat because of the hips. The spine has a natural curve in the neck and lower back. If you raise your knees then your back would naturally flatten the space. People with back/hip problems can modify this position by raising their knees to prevent pressure on their lower back.

Darwin

I suffer from migrains. Will this help?

Sandy

Hi, I'm looking for an articel that was posted on a physical therapist wall. It is from Yoga Journal, but doesn't give the date for the issue it came from. The title of the story is Serenity in Savasana. My 35 yr old daughter has been diagnossed
Ehler-Danlos Syndrom and the doc recommended yoga. This looked like a good thing for her. It seemed to have more advice on how to do this pose, as opposed to what I've been able to find elsewhere.

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