Corpse Pose Doesn’t Mean Playing Dead

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Today at the end of yoga class we were doing Shavasana, known as Corpse Pose, which basically means that we lie down and rest. It doesn’t always mean we lie flat on our back with our legs sticking out straight ahead. Sometimes you lie down with your legs up a wall (legs are straight and heels touch the wall). Sometimes there could be a bolster beneath your thighs while you’re lying down. There can even be a bolster under your buttocks while your legs are up a wall.

There are hundreds of ways to do Shavasana, but the point my yoga teacher made was that Corpse Pose is a horribly inaccurate translation.  This pose does not mean you are dead. You’re not supposed to fall asleep or zone out – although that might happen if you aren’t concentrating on resting. Resting is what you are supposed to be doing in Shavasana.

You can’t rest if you’re dead.  A corpse doesn’t just rest and then get up and come back to life. And you can’t rest during Shavasana if you’re asleep. Even though Shavasana is supposed to be a relaxing pose, you can’t let go of your senses completely. You have to have some degree of control when it comes to your mind, body, and breath. You have to reflect upon what you learned in class and what you need to improve on. At the very least, you’re supposed to concentrate on being calm and keeping your breath steady. Don’t be that person who falls asleep during Shavasana and disturbs everyone else by snoring!

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