There’s a temptation in yoga to think about all the difficult poses, to focus all intent on stretching out the body– striving for perfection. While it is good to challenge yourself, it is most important to take care of the basic yoga fundamentals. So, let’s start with the corpse pose as this posture has many benefits to offer.
Letting Go of Thoughts
At the end of each session, use the corpse pose (as this must form the conclusion). For some, this is one of the most difficult parts of yoga, as it means embarking upon conscious relaxation. When life is stressful, it can be difficult to let go of constant mind-chatter. Visualize these thoughts gradually disappearing in front of you and, with effort, you will achieve perfect stillness and inner peace.
Distractions are not just internal. When starting the corpse pose, there may be movement from others (if in a class) or you may also feel cold afterward. If this is likely, pull on some socks to keep your feet warm and wear a jumper to keep your body heat in.
Lying flat on the floor with legs relaxed and toes pointing outwards is important. Place your arms alongside your body, facing your palms upwards and work through a mental checklist from the feet to the head. It is important that you fully relax, feeling your body against the mat. Ensure your eyelids are relaxed, along with your jaw. Your tongue should be away from the roof of the mouth. If your body is uncomfortable when lying flat, use bolsters or pillows under the knees, which take the pressure away from the lower back. Or, if the upper back is the problem, add a pillow beneath the shoulder blades and this will open up the chest too.
Basic Yoga 101- Enjoy the Corpse Pose
Don’t think about this posture being a waste of time. It’s there for you to observe your physical body and to experience the benefits of yoga. Let these results be absorbed. The corpse pose helps to alleviate headaches, to calm the nervous system and to aid relaxation.
Settle into a gentle rhythmic breathing. Let yourself drift. Let thoughts dissipate. If this is difficult, tune into the breath and the sensation of your body with the inhalation and exhalation. Let go of distractions, anxieties, or tasks. The corpse pose resets the body after the yoga session and lets all the benefits absorb deep within. It’s a time where mind and body connect in deep relaxation. Once you are ready, you can sit up but it is best to use your hands to support your body as you do so. As a result, this reduces the potential for any sprained muscles to occur following relaxation. Afterwards, sit quietly with your spine erect and enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation.
It is important that you learn the relevance of each technique as this forms basic yoga best practice. It takes time but it is worth the effort.