Sava means corpse. The image of the corpse represents a complete absence of attachment and dependence on the material. Many Buddhists meditate on the corpse in order to obtain liberation from the fear of death or “mrityunji”. But how can thoughts of death be a meditation? For most of us, aging and death is the ultimate fear that lurks in the inner recesses of our mind and manifests through our behavior in complex ways. Yet yogic myths are riddled with death imagery such as Devi (goddess of the Muladhara chakra) holding a skull as if to remind us that without acceptance of our mortality, joy in life will remain elusive.
Benefits of Savasana
- Balances and calms the entire body, initiating a parasympathetic response conducive to healing and regeneration.
- Theta brain waves (electrical activity that oscillates and vibrates at a frequency of 4-8 Hz) take over, accessing the intuitive unconscious mind and connecting to the collective unconscious.
- This is the optimal position for distribution of red blood cells to oxygenate the body. The red blood cells can move through your body in as little as 20 seconds.
- There are no contraindications for this posture although people with discomfort in the sacrum or tailbone may need several mats or cushions to lie comfortably. During pregnancy, the healthiest position (after the first trimester) is to lie on your left side with a bolster in between your knees. This provides for better blood flow to your baby and is healthier for you as well.
- Start lying on your back with your knees bent.
- Feel the natural curve in the lower back and the curve in the back of the neck.
- Extend the legs and allow the feet to relax naturally out to the sides.
- Feel space between the shoulders on both the front and the back side of the body.
- Relax the arms away from your torso, palms up. This creates space for increased blood flow in the armpits and lymph nodes.
- Notice all the parts of the body that are in contact with the earth… the back of the head, the arms, the backs of the hands, the shoulders, the shoulder-blades, the sacrum, the backs of the legs, and the heels.
- Feel the shoulders are wide on both the front and the back side of the body.
- Your eyes can be closed or your gaze soft as you look up at the sky.
- Soften in your neck and relax the full weight of your head onto the earth.
- Feel the eyes relax back into their sockets.
- Feel the forehead relax along with all the glands behind the forehead.
- Relax your inner ears and your mouth, feeling your tongue completely relax.
- Feel all your senses draw inward to the center of your body.
- Soften each vertebra one by one. Feel them release toward the earth.
- Soften each rib. Feel them dissolve into the earth.
- Soften the internal organs and allow them to rest deep in your belly.
- Feel the intelligence of your own life force and the interconnectedness of all the systems in your body.
- Relax your shoulders, neck, and facial muscles.
- Visualize all your muscles relaxing away from your bones.
- Visualize your joints softening and opening, surrendering to the force of gravity.
- Feel your lungs breathing deeply and your heart beating in your chest.
- Wiggle your toes and fingers and flex your ankles and wrists (to come out of the posture).
- Give yourself a full body stretch by extending your arms overhead.
- Roll to one side or the other, resting on your side for a breath or two.
- Use your arms to push yourself up to easy pose.
- Easy Pose
- Knees to Chest