Pose of the Week: Savasana

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 11:16
At the end of each term the Pose of the Week is Savasana. Sava means a corpse. So it’s corpse pose. Spooky!
 
BKS Iyengar says it is one of the most difficult asanas. It essentially requires you to do nothing. And for most of us this is really challenging. Last week we looked at ego and identity. Savasana requires for us to let go of our ego and our identity. In Light on Life BKS Iyengar describes our ties to our identity similar to that of the threads that imprison Gulliver, as he is tied to the ground by the midget Lilliputians. 
 
“Savasana uses techniques of relaxation to cut the threads. The result of this is not, as in meditation, freedom, but loss of identity. I do not say loss of false identity because in the world in which we function, these identities are real. Yet taking the long view, they are unreal.” (BKS Iyengar, Light on Life, Rodale, 2005, p.233)
 
Sometimes when I teach Savasana I repeat the words ‘let go’. At first you acknowledge the presence of your body lying on the floor, you observe regions of holding, of tension, and you send your intention into those areas to let go. There is a release to gravity. Then with time (and practice) the presence of the body dissolves. But you’re not making lists in your head, or daydreaming, you are present. When you are fully present only then can you feel, only then do you have an experience. There is a process of slowing down and eventually letting go of time. No future and no past, just the present moment. That is Savasana. Harmony and equilibrium ensue.
 
A technique to find this place is through the breath. The breath is required to move evenly through both the nostrils. Start with a normal length of inhalation and extend the exhalation making it soft but deep. This may bring more depth and length to the inhalation, if this happens naturally without  causing any disturbance, let it arise. BKS Iyengar says ‘this quietens the nerves and the mind’. Then allow the breath to move on its own accord, watch the moments when the release into Savasana kicks in.
 
“When the art of relaxation is perfected, one feels as if the breath is oozing from the pores of the skin on the chest, which is a sign of perfect relaxation. Each out-breath takes the sadhaka’s [the yoga student or spiritual aspirant] mind towards his/her own self and purges his/her brain of all its tensions and activities.” (BKS Iyengar, Light on Pranayama, Crossroad, 2005, p. 249)
 
In the space of the smooth flowing breath and relaxed body, we are able to connect deeply with the core of our being.
 
“In this space, corpse pose has no beginning or end and our awareness of time dissolves. There is nothing to be done. Thinking comes to a standstill and an intuitive dialectical knowing, rather than a logical or rational understanding, occurs. The gravity of savasana is surrendered to.” (From an article written by Michael Stone for Iyengar-Yoga.com
Stormie and I taking rest on holidays
 
Thanks to all who attended classes throughout the year. Enjoy your holiday break and the joy Christmas can bring. 
 
See you in the new year for the 2020 New Year Intensive.
 
Happy Christmas and a wonderful New year,
Nic & Tom x
 
Yoga Path
An Iyengar Yoga School
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