There are two most difficult things to do in a yoga practice - One is unrolling your mat and the second is relaxing into Savasana or corpse pose. This might sound peculiar to you, but if you think about it, the first thing to do in a yoga practice is to get your space ready and unroll your mat! This takes drive, motivation, the desire to move and work on your mind – which, let’s face it, requires a lot out of you. This is half the battle and once you have your space ready, the practice that follows can be a breeze. But more than unrolling your mat, the most difficult thing to do in a yoga practice is the final pose, Savasana. Don’t be fooled by this easy looking pose, because the essence of this pose is to calm the mind and this can be very hard to do.
It is no surprise that even those who have advanced poses in their practice struggle with Savasana. The main purpose of this asana is to relax with attention – which is a prelude to getting into a meditative state. Entering an attentive, relaxed state requires diligence and may take years of practice. There is a reason why Savasana is the last pose of practice and every pose before that preps you for this pose. All other active asanas help stretch the body and release any tension held in the muscles. So, the first step of getting into Savasana is to let go of any tension or tightness in the muscles. However, the art of relaxation might need a little nudge sometimes. This is why working with props is a great way to fine-tune your Savasana practice.
Props for Savasana:
Bolsters – Resting the calves on a knee-high bolster, chair or couch is a great way to prep for this pose. This modification puts the spine in a neutral position and allows one to engage in proper abdominal breathing. Furthermore, elevating the legs helps with lymphatic drainage and improves blood circulation.
Blankets – Using a stack of soft, folded blankets underneath the head and back helps open up the chest. A lot of people hold tension in their neck, shoulders and upper back. This modification can help create an energetic flow of breath, tame a busy mind and promote a consciously relaxed state.
Music – To me, a prop is anything that helps you get deeper into a pose. Music can absolutely do that. Sound waves are a powerful tool that can help you harness the deep cognitive capacity of the mind. Leveraging the healing benefits of instrumental music, singing bowls or tuning forks can help get into a relaxed state for Savasana.
Eye Pillows – It is very common to lie on your yoga mats and simply stare at the ceiling with all the mind chatter that won’t go away! Eye pillows provide a gentle touch to all the pressure points around the eyes, relax the pupils and help you get into Savasana with ease.
These are all some great ways to optimize your Savasana. If Savasana is a pose that you generally skip, try to embrace the stillness after an engaged yoga flow with a little help from these props. It is quite normal for the mind to resist the stillness and relaxation. But if you consistently work on it, the art of relaxation will become second nature to you and you can carry this mindset of ‘conscious harmony’ off your mat as well – And this is the ultimate goal of a yoga practice!
With Love and Light,
About Dr. Mia Iyer @drmiaiyer
Dr. Mia Iyer is a Board-Certified Chiropractic Physician based in Chicago, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences & Biotechnology and completed her doctorate from National University of Health Sciences. With a passion for research, she focuses her clinical rotations on publishing peer reviewed journal(s) –with a primary interest on gut health.
Working in an integrated healthcare clinic, Dr. Mia treats her patients using an integrative approach – combining modalities such as acupuncture, rehabilitative yoga, and holistic nutrition. Helping her patients’ health goals by developing sustainable habits to live a healthy and balanced life is the heart of what Dr. Mia does! She rounds out her education with number of other certifications along with her 200 hr Yoga Training. She practices and teaches yoga in her community regularly and continually shares her passion for all things wellness through her blog. You can connect with Dr. Mia on at @drmiaiyer and/or www.onthewell.com