hatha yoga instructor training onineBy: Virginia Iversen M.Ed

At first glance, you may think the practicing Shavasana, or Corpse Pose, is simply a matter of lying down on your Yoga mat and having a brief nap. However, deeply practicing Corpse Pose requires the ability to truly release both an inner and outer state of doing, striving and controlling the external environment. In our culture, there’s a tremendous emphasis on continually doing a variety of tasks, usually simultaneously, along with unceasingly striving toward our goals.

This emphasis on continually multitasking wires the nervous system to be hyper vigilant and always “on.” As a result, at the end of Yoga practice many of us find that we are unable to truly relax and rest in Shavasana, even a few minutes. Although it may look to those around us like we’re resting comfortably in Corpse Pose, our mind may still be spinning a million miles a minute. We may be thinking about the last conversation we had with a friend, tasks that we need to accomplish tomorrow at work, or we may find that we are ruminating about a situation that we did not handle well. 

As we slow down on the Yoga mat and rest in Shavasana, there may be a plethora of thoughts, feelings and images that arise in our minds. Many of these thoughts and images may not be as uplifting as we would like them to be, to say the least! If you find that you are emotionally uneasy and physically anxious during your practice of Shavasana, you can view the window of awareness that this Yoga pose provides as a opportunity to begin to weed out thoughts and mental habits that undermine your well-being. 

As a dedicated Yogi or Yogini, you may even feel anxious about not being able to get into a posture that you have previously been able to practice during Yoga class. Because many of us are accustomed to racing from one task to another during our daily lives, being able to release all of the internal and external “doing” during Shavasana is even more important. A deep sense of peace, calm and replenishment comes from truly releasing all thought and physical striving during Corpse Pose.

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