It should be easy, but living in a fast-paced, results-oriented society we often have trouble with this simplest action — learning to let go.
For many, being constantly on the move, staying one-step-ahead of the game and remaining in control of every detail of our lives is necessary for success. Yet, workaholics who strive for utter perfection in everything often suffer from anxiety and insecurities. Keeping on the move to keep your flaws hidden is not healthy, yet for many people it is the only way they can maintain a sense of order.
Luckily, there is a yoga pose that helps us practice letting go, it is called the corpse pose (Savasana). The idea being that death allows us to awake refreshed and renewed.
From the looks of it, the corpse pose should be a piece of cake, but for those who hold a lot of tension and stress in their bodies, directing all of their energy towards relaxation can be very challenging.
On many occasions, I have found my students wide-eyed with minds racing while in the corpse pose. When we are busy thinking, worrying, daydreaming or, on the other end of the spectrum, falling asleep in this position, we are avoiding. In other words we aren’t letting go or staying present with our experience.
Part of the process of letting go is trust. Whether it is trusting people, the process, or ourselves, if we do not learn to trust, we will always live with fear and anxiety.
While in corpse pose we are neither awake nor asleep, instead we hover somewhere in between. Every part of our body, from the crown of our head to the tips of our toes becomes heavy as we sink deeply into the ground. In doing this, we can experience letting go physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The corpse pose resembles someone dying and essentially, every time we practice it, we are letting all the unwanted parts of us die. Once our angst over our flaws and hectic schedules have been absorbed into the ground, we wake up a new person, refreshed and ready to start with a clean slate.
Through practicing dying, we are also practice living. By letting go and bringing our attention inward, by allowing our minds and bodies to be quiet, we can welcome a peaceful state filled with clarity and bliss.
The corpse pose invigorates the mind and body, and allows us to prepare for sitting meditation. Other benefits include relieving headaches, dizziness, mental weakness, hot flashes, insomnia, high blood pressure and sciatica.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Lie down on your back.
- Bring your arms 20 – 25cm (8-10 inches) away from your torso, with your palms facing up.
- Extend your legs forward, keep feet a hip-distance apart.
- Let your toes splay out to the sides of the room.
- Close your eyes and let your body become heavy, melting into the ground.
- Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
To make this pose as relaxing as possible, here are a few tips:
- If your hair is in a ponytail, release your hair.
- Do not wear eyeglasses.
- Cover yourself with a blanket if you are cold.
- Place an eye pillow over your eyes.
- Slowly come out of the pose.