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Scorpion Solitaire

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Scorpion Solitaire


Savasana - A Gift to Ourselves

By Liz Rosenblum - 5/23/2013

  Photo Credit: Deklofenak /

Savasana. It may be one of the most misunderstood postures in all of yoga. To those standing on the outskirts, yogis in savasana may look like they're napping, but many will agree that savasana is one of the most important postures - as well as one of the most challenging.

Also known as corpse pose, savasana is the final pose, done as a way to seal the practice.

The challenge comes in that, while it may look as if the practitioner is just relaxing, as if he or she were lying on a bed about to go to sleep, during this closing posture, the mind is intended to be somewhere between wake and sleep - alert but not focusing on anything in particular. In other words, it's a meditative state done in a physical position in which sleep can be very, very tempting.

During savasana, Ujjayi breathing is no longer necessary. The breath is meant to be easy, the palms turned up, and the feet allowed to just let loose and fall where they may - ideally out. The idea is that everything should be free - the breathing, the body and the mind - even the tongue, the jaw and the palette.

It is during this phase that the mind may be most in touch with the sensations of the body, which can be particularly insightful following a challenging practice. Emotions which may have been kept buried often fight to come to the surface. The human mind struggles with this. It wants to react - to think, to daydream, to fall asleep - anything to keep feelings of pain from bubbling up. But during savasana, if done as intended, with the mind alert but non-reactive, the sense of self and all the emotions that go along with it - for better or for worse - are felt and, more importantly, are experienced.

Once again, the great challenge of savasana is to acknowledge whatever comes up and to allow it to pass. In other words, savasana is a time for judgments of ourselves and of others to die. It's a time to be present with a clear mind and a time to fight through the knee-jerk reactions that surface during a typical day.

There is no specific length for savasana. It can be tempting to avoid savasana completely - or to shorten it and deem it unimportant. But, given the benefits of it, eliminating savasana is like doing away with all of the benefits of the previous practice.

Some suggest holding the posture until the heart rate and breath come back into a natural rhythm, others suggest for 5-15 minutes. Ultimately, there is no right answer, but it's important to keep in mind that savasana is not intended to be easy and should not be considered a throw-away. Instead, it should be held for as long as the practitioner - and the teacher - deem necessary to garner the benefits.

The virtues of savasana don't necessarily start and end with the posture itself. Savasana, as stated earlier, is also called the corpse pose. If you think of it as a time where negative thoughts die and a clear mind sealed, exiting savasana can be looked at as a rebirth.

During the practice the mind and body reaped numerous cleansing benefits, and savasana puts a bow on that gift to ourselves. Therefore, coming out of it is a chance to re-enter society with a mind and body that are clear, the benefits of which can then be carried throughout the day and shared with others.

With practice, the goal is to carry the experience of non-judgment into our daily lives.


Scorpion Solitaire

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