Relaxation Meditation - Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Even people who don’t like Yoga, like Savasana. Probably because it may seem easy. All you have to do is lie down and breath, right? It doesn’t look that different from when you lay down to go to bed.
This pose is typically used in a yoga class at the beginning or at the end. The essence of Savasana is to relax with attention, that is, to remain conscious and alert while still being at ease. Remaining aware while relaxing can help you begin to notice and release long-held tensions in your body and mind. It gives you the opportunity to let go. No wonder another this is also known as corpse pose.
When feeling stressed and anxious, savasana can bring restoration to the mind, body, and spirit. You can perform it whenever you feel the need to get grounded. That is anytime in the day and night when it’s time to let go of any tension. Taking a Savasana creates the setting to gradually relax in a meditative state.
On the other hand, Savasana can be one of the hardest poses! Why? Because it’s not always easy to relax. Some people are so exhausted that they fall asleep as soon as they lay down. They struggle to stay alert and in meditation or their minds are so busy racing with thoughts that they are unable to relax.
For best results, do a yoga sequence beforehand to loosen up any tension in the body. It can be difficult to relax if there is too much tension in the body. So do several poses that include forward folds, hip openers, chest openers, and twists. Use a few sequences on my YouTube channel like Yin Yoga https://youtu.be/1BCrRi2EBig or foundational poses https://youtu.be/yAc21T3nZX8
I also like to occasionally incorporate Cannabis for deeper relaxation. My body does well here with a strain that is higher in CBD and lower in THC. Indica strains tend to have this combination and if I smoke, then I'll chose something like Skywalker or look for an effects based brand like LOLA LOLA that offers Relax & Calm. If I'm going to do a longer yoga practice before savasana than I may take an edible like CBD Alive 1:1 capsule (beginners may want to try 10:1).
Ideally, Savasana lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. However, even a few minutes of it is said to have powerful benefits. A regular practice of Savasana will train you again and again in the art of relaxation, an essential quality for meditation and a true experience of yoga.
Working with props to support one part of the body at a time can help you learn to consciously relax and refine your practice of Savasana. Elevating the calves on a support improves circulation and releases tension in the back muscles, allowing you to rest more deeply.
Elevating the back and supporting the head, on the other hand, helps to open your chest, release the shoulders, and enhance the natural flow of the breath. If your energy or mood is low or if you hold a lot of tension in your upper back and shoulders, this variation will be good for you. Spend several minutes here taking long and even breaths.
In the full version of the pose, you will rest your entire body on the floor. Extend your arms and legs outward from the torso evenly and symmetrically. You can use the meditation script below Yoga Nidra to gradually relax the entire body or listen to it in a guided body scan meditation HERE.
Yoga Nidra - Pure Awareness Script
Come and lie in savasana.
Take time to arrange yourself so that you are completely comfortable and able to stay in this position for the next 20 minutes. Be sure you have some cushion under your head for padding, and a blanket to cover you if you feel at all chilled.
Become aware of yourself lying down - your whole body lying down. Become aware of the room, visualize the room you are lying in and listen to the sounds around you. (PAUSE)
Gradually bring the sounds closer in, until the sound of your own breath is in the foreground of your awareness and everything else except my voice falls away. Invite the body to relax fully, cultivating a sense of deep, inner stillness. (PAUSE)
Yoga Nidra is a meditative practice - the intention is to stay awake and follow along on an inner journey. If you find yourself falling asleep, gently draw yourself back to consciousness. Repeat to yourself now 3x, “I am practicing Yoga Nidra - I will stay awake. I am practicing Yoga Nidra - I will stay awake. I am practicing Yoga Nidra - I will stay awake.” Resolve: From within, connect to a heartfelt intention or a positive resolve about yourself. Let the words formulate naturally in a simple phrase such as “Letting go, I take this time to care for myself.” You are welcome to use this phrase or work with one that emerges from within you. Repeat your resolve 3x. (PAUSE)
Now we begin the rotation of consciousness by taking a trip through the different parts of the body. Imagine that you are lying back in a shady grove - the soft moist, grass beneath you, a light breeze brushing each body part as I name it, leaving it refreshed and invigorated. Move your awareness swiftly through the body, following along with my voice.
Left Side: Beginning on the left side with the hand: thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, palm of the hand, become aware of the palm, the back of the hand, the wrist, the lower arm, the elbow, the upper arm, the shoulder, the armpit, rib cage, the left waist, the left hip, the left thigh, kneecap, the calf muscle, the ankle, the heel, the sole of the left foot, the top of the foot, the big toe, second big toe, third, fourth, and fifth toe….feel the whole left side of the body fanned with the passing breeze, the moist earth cradling you.
Right Side: Moving to the right side: thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, palm of the hand, become aware of the palm, the back of the hand, the wrist, the lower arm, the elbow, the upper arm, the shoulder, the armpit, rib cage, the right waist, the right hip, the right thigh, kneecap, the calf muscle, the ankle, the heel, the sole of the right foot, the top of the foot, the big toe, second big toe, third, fourth, and fifth toe…..feel the whole right side of the body fanned with the passing breeze, the moist earth cradling you.
Back Side: Move your awareness to the back of the head - let it sink to the ground, feeling embraced by the soft cushion of grass. Experience the sensation of moisture, like dew, trickling down the back of the neck, along the spine and across the back, around the buttocks and down the backs of the legs.
Front Side: Now go to the top of the head, feel the top of the head and forehead fanned by the wind…. A refreshing breeze blowing across the temples, the left eyebrow, right eyebrow and space between the brows, left eye then right, the left ear, the right ear, left cheek, right cheek, the nostrils, the tip of the nose, the upper lip, the lower lip, the chin, the throat, the left breast, the right breast, the heart center, the abdomen, the pelvis - a light gust brushing over your skin like a feather. Focus your awareness on the naval center, abdomen, the pelvic girdle - let your attention gather there. Have a sensate awareness of the rise and fall of the belly with the breath. Notice a sense of spaciousness within the belly and spaciousness all around the belly. With each breath encourage a deep release and relaxation in the abdominal cavity - surrender the weight of the body to the cool, embracing earth and let the flow of the breath, like the flow of the breeze move within you and around you. Feel the coolness of the air as it brushes the inside of the nostrils and the back of the throat. As you breathe in say the word silently to yourself “balance.” (SHORT PAUSE)
Let the exhale be slow and deep. Feel the release of tension, and say silently say to yourself “calm” with each outgoing breath. (SHORT PAUSE)
Inhale, “balance,” Exhale “calm.” (PAUSE)
As you breathe in and out, begin to imagine the inhalation breath first entering through the left nostril and then the exhalation breath exiting through the right. Then inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. Continue to breathe this way inhale left, exhale right and then inhale right and exhale left. Inhale “balance,” exhale “calm.” (SHORT PAUSE)
Experience the breath like an inner current, it’s confluence coursing through you - like the gentle wind - cleansing your insides bringing complete balance and calm (LONGER PAUSE)
Be aware of the content of your consciousness, just as it is, without any need to change or modify your experience. Relax and be with everything just as it is…..Be aware of being aware…..(PAUSE)
Bring your sensate awareness to your physical body, thinking to yourself…. “I have a body and I am aware of this body. This body experiences different conditions of health and sickness, stress and relaxation…..I have a body and I am aware of this body. This body is an experience unfolding in my awareness. I have a body and I am more than the experience of this body…..I am aware of this body.” Be aware of the emotions that come up and go through this body… “I have emotions and I am aware of these emotions. These emotions are experiences unfolding in my awareness...changing, sometimes contradictory….swinging from love to hatred, from calmness to anger...from joy to sorrow….I have emotions and I am more than the experience of emotions - I am aware of these emotions arising in the field of unchanging awareness.” Be aware of the thoughts that run through the mind and are constantly changing… “I have thoughts, I have a mind, but I am more than this mind filled with thoughts…..thoughts changing, chasing one another within this mind...I am the awareness that perceives this mind and it’s constantly changing conditions.”
Be aware of all objects in awareness...sensation...feeling….thought...and experience. Notice how each arises in the ever present field of awareness….say to yourself, “I experience sensation, feeling and thought…..I am not separate from them. All of these move within the field of my awareness. I am the one who is aware of them. I am aware and distinct from these movements. I am the one who is aware.”
Now, tap into the sensate feeling of this “I am” who is aware…. Trace the feeling of “I am” down from the brain and into the body. Locate and feel the bodily location of “I am” in the heart center and rest in the heart as the feeling of pure awareness. Be with the experience of “I am” without judgement, free of any need to do or change…. Simply be with the purity of “I am” …..abiding in a sea of awareness, a sea of consciousness…. (LONG PAUSE)
Return your attention to the flow of the breath: Inhale, “balance;” exhale, “calm.” Feel the rib cage and belly expand with each inhalation breath and release with each exhale. (SHORT PAUSE)
Become aware of your body, lying down. Become aware of the room around you - the sounds around you. (SHORT PAUSE)
Bring to mind the heartfelt prayer from the beginning of the practice, your own or the one offered earlier: “Letting go, I take this time to care for myself.” Repeat your resolve once again 3x (PAUSE)
Begin to gradually open your eyes. Let them open and close several times, rocking gently between the interior world and the exterior world. Allow the eyes to naturally come to focus and receive the light as they are ready (LONGER PAUSE).
Then stretch your body, curling knees to chest, and resting on your side for a few breaths before transitioning slowly.
Yoga Nidra is now complete.
*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.