SmartMat Pose of the Week – Savasana
I’ve always thought there was a great paradox in the pose, Savasana. It translates to mean “Corpse Pose,” but it’s often the pose where your body can feel most alive. It seems the more still we become, the more we can feel our own vitality.
Typically practiced at the very end of class, Savasana is meant to help integrate one’s experience of the entire class into the body. Like that moment of silence right after a good song ends and before the audience claps, Savasana is that pause where the entirety of the experience you just had fully lands in the body, mind, and soul. Without it, one might leave a Yoga class feeling not quite complete.
In our fast-paced society where we’re always on the go, you might be tempted to gloss over this seemingly simple part of the class, thinking it’s just a place to rest and check out. On the contrary, I like to tell my students that Savasana is actually the time to check-in.
At first glance, Savasana seems like a simple pose in need of no technical instruction. And technically, yes it can be simple. But that does not mean it’s easy. The rigor of this pose becomes what we do with our minds once the body is still and relaxed. In that regard, for many Yogis, this could be considered one of the most challenging and advanced asanas.
There’s More to It Than Just Resting
Most certainly, Savasana is a time for integration and for deep rest. But a skilled yogi knows Savasana is also a time where you can gain great knowledge about your body, and in specific about your body’s holding patterns.
When you fully relax into Savasana, your body will fall and release into the floor according to its natural holding pattern. Most of the time, you don’t notice this which is just fine. You’re busy relaxing.
But one time, if you remember to observe what your body falls into in Savasana, you might start to notice some interesting things. Perhaps, one leg feels more deeply rooted on the ground. Or you feel one side of your rib cage touching the mat but not the other. Maybe your low back has quite a pronounced curve and is lifted off the mat. Maybe one leg is rotated out more than the other.
In other words, by observing how and where your body relaxes into the mat and where it doesn’t in Savasana, you can learn about your muscular and skeletal patterns. I practiced for years before I did this observation exercise. Once I did, I became aware for the first time that I had a mild scoliosis in my spine that was causing my right shoulder to be lower than my left, and it also made the whole left side of my body tighter than the right. Who knew?!
It took fully releasing and observing (without judgment) in Savasana to learn this about myself. And now that I have that information, it’s greatly informed my ability to adjust all my other poses in class to better suit my alignment needs.
Bringing Self-Awareness to Another Level
Looking back, had I had a SmartMat at the time to give me specific feedback about my weight distribution and alignment in Savasana, perhaps I would have observed these alignment issues in the body much sooner. And, I’d be able to see how my body’s holding patterns in Savasana have started to shift over time the more balanced my body becomes from my overall practice.
And the best part is, I don’t have to disturb my deep rest or relaxation to get this feedback. I can still bliss out in Savasana, and later, after class, I can review the information that SmartMat captured in my posture. It’s the best of both worlds. Deep rest and deep awareness.
Keep Practicing Yogis!