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The Art of Dying

What the heck is Savasana anyway? What a bore. Let’s be honest. I get my deep breathing going, I get my ujjayi in full swing, I get sweaty, I bend, stretch, fly, invert, possibly kick the girl on the mat next to me, possibly hold a handstand for a whole blissful half-second, counterpose, and I’m good to go. So what is up with Savasana? Who needs it? I am going to be dead for a long time eventually anyway, why waste my live time practicing it now? I’ve already put in many minutes on the mat, I’ve gotta run, gotta change from my studio Lulus to my street Lulus, run over to the juice bar, buy a pulverized and reconstituted kale mixture, preferably supplemented with an algae of proclaimed but dubious health benefits, try to convince myself it tastes good, instagram a sweaty, juice-drinking post-yoga selfie, and spend the next few hours monitoring how many likes it gets. I don’t have time for this lame lying-around-and-calling-it-a-pose thing

 

 

[Deep ethereal intangible yogi voice emanates from the ether]

"Ah, aspiring yogi child, I see you have come upon one of the great mysteries of the studio."

[Immaterial deep-voiced guru touches his invisible gnarled finger tips together]

"I am here to teach you the secrets of Savasana.

Savasana is the hardest pose to perfect. Because it necessitates complete relaxation, which is antithetical to the constant motion that we surround ourselves with, it is very difficult for the modern practitioner. Savasana is complete relaxation. It is the practice of dying. Through it we practice letting go, releasing the vacillations of the mind, releasing control of the body, releasing all of our attachments to ourselves and to our surroundings. We become entirely immersed in nothing, and through the surrender to nothing, we access everything. By releasing all of the tedium and distractions and minutia of daily life, we access a limitless void, the void from which we came and to which we eventually return. We become familiar with death, we cultivate an intimacy with it, and our mortality no longer weighs on us like a terrible burden. We cease to fear it.

Iyengar says that

the stresses of modern civilization are a strain on the nerves for which Savasana is the best antidote.”

To practice this antidote,

  1. Lie flat on your back with your arms resting comfortably alongside your body.
  2. Let your palms rest open towards the ceiling.
  3. Allow your legs to fall apart.
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Release the deep breathing or Ujjayi breath that you maintained during your practice.  Allow your body to breathe effortlessly.
  6. Scan your body and permit each of your limbs and appendages and muscles to relax.
  7. Allow your tongue to fall away from the roof of your mouth.
  8. Release the weight of your body completely towards the pull of gravity.
  9. If you find yourself distracted, notice the tendency of the mind to travel, and, without judgment, call it back.
  10. Enjoy deathless death.

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