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The Dead Can’t Hear

April 7th, 2012 | No Comments

There are those things I find categorically wrong with certain teaching practices of yoga that I have witnessed, and then there are those that I simply disagree with – this is one of the latter.

I submit for the consideration of the jury, that Savasana is a silent practice.

Savasana is the pose of the corpse. “Sava”, from the Sanskrit for corpse, and “asana” which loosely means pose. So literally, Corpse Pose. The design of the pose is to mimic a corpse, thereby minimizing sensation as much as possible.

Hands are to the side, below the shoulder, with palms facing up. Having your hands over your head leaves your body in a stretch, and that by definition is not Savasana. Our sense of touch is much greater on the front of our body, and of course in our fingertips and the palms of our hands. This is why they are positioned facing away from the floor.

The position of the legs is meant to let the feet fall open, so that our muscles are working as little as possible – again, in an effort to minimize any active sensation.

So if we are working so hard to be “dead”, why do some teachers insist on filling their ears? The dead can’t hear. Or at least they aren’t supposed to.

I love guided meditation, but Savasana isn’t it. Music is blissful, so use it when the class is in motion.

Students negate the pose by intentionally breathing heavily and sighing deeply (and loudly). When your ears pick up the sound of your breath, it panics the nervous system. Audible breath creates heat. Savasana is a cooling pose – the most cooling pose of all.

Savasana is a time to close and integrate the physical practice. At the risk of hyperbole, it is a place to die and be reborn. It is where our actions move to muscle memory, and we process any thoughts or emotional aspects of our practice.

We impose on Savasana by attempting to fill the perfectly designed empty space.

Savasana is a silent practice. Dead silent.

The prosecution rests. Shh.

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