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Playing Dead

When approached with the right attitude, Savasana (Corpse Pose) helps you enter into a state of blissful neutrality.

By Richard Rosen

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In Corpse Pose, students symbolically "die" to their old ways of thinking and doing. The normally perceived boundaries of body image dissolve, and a state of blissful neutrality is entered. To practice Savasana, start by aligning the body. Make sure that both sides are resting evenly on the floor and that your ears are equidistant from your shoulders. Physically relax the muscles and bones. Imagine that the mass of your body is sinking down into the floor, then spreading out like a puddle of oil. Next calm the senses. Soften the root of your tongue. Cradle your eyes in their sockets and turn them down to gaze at the heart. Release the inner ears to the back of the skull (yet keep them alert to the sound of the breath). Smooth the skin at the bridge of the nose and melt it toward your temples.

Finally, surrender any and all psychological effort (or at least as much as you can). Even as you lie still on the floor, you'll discover that you're still trying, wondering what to "do" in this posture. Drop your brain to the back of the skull. Remember the words of the great sage Abhinavagupta: "Abandon nothing. Take up nothing. Rest, abide in yourself, just as you are."

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