At the end of a yoga asana practice comes what many find to be the best part of the practice—Savasana, or Corpse Pose. Often, Savasana is referred to as Final Resting Pose or Final Relaxation Pose, but at its essence, Savasana is about surrendering deeply to an energy that prepares us for the inevitable—our death.
The idea of facing death makes most of us, especially in the West, squirm. Facing our ultimate demise is something we would rather put off for another day. But yoga encourages us to consider our death each and every time we come to the mat. The symbolic practice teaches us to surrender our efforts. All that work we have done on the mat is ultimately not for us. When we devote ourselves to the practice with non-attachment to its results, we surrender to whatever might arise. That ultimate surrender is realized when we lay down, close our eyes, and let go.
This symbolic practice shows us now only how to live, but also, ultimately, how to die. When it our time comes, we can either bow out with grace and acceptance, or fearfully fight the inevitable. Savasana teaches us how to get comfortable with our mortality, which gives us a renewed vigor for life itself. When you know—truly know in your bones—that you are going to die one day, how will you choose to live?
Alanna Kaivalya, author of Myths of the Asanas, states it beautifully, “We come into this world with empty hands, and we must leave with empty hands. Being conscious of death in a yogic way does not turn us into curmudgeons, but instead allows us to live every moment in freedom and joy.”