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Shavasana 101
What's So Hard About Playing Dead?

Shavasana. The Corpse Pose. It sounds so deceptively simple -- you just lay there on your back with your eyes shut and relax. But it is said that Shavasana is the most difficult asana to master. It's true. You could develop your flexibility until you are able to twist yourself into positions that would make Gumby envious and still never grasp the deeper aspect of Shavasana. And, in a way, that's as it should be because perfect Shavasana and Perfect Enlightenment are actually one in the same.

(Article continued below.)

During your yoga practice there is one part of you that should be so flexible that it is beyond any contortions whatsoever and that is your mind. A focused mind is the least you should have; that way you can concentrate on the proper form and breathing for your asanas. But ideally you should have a still mind, and that is a foreign concept to most of us in the Western world. We worship thought and if our minds are busy we tend to think we're being productive. When we have a problem we must think it through. During a business meeting you are asked for your thoughts on the matter at hand. Throughout the day your mind is constantly working: What did you think of the movie? Do you think I should add more potatoes to this stew? I think it's time to go. Mind has convinced us that we can't live without its help - in fact, it has us believing that we are mind. The truth is that intuition will get us a lot farther than thought ever could. It comes as a surprise and a shock to most of us to realize that thought and intuition are two different things, that the mind actually hampers intuition, and that intuition always has the right answer and mind rarely does. Shavasana is an opportunity for you to get in touch with that part of yourself that is "no mind," the place where intuition lives.

It is easy for anyone who is really paying attention while they are in Shavasana to understand how difficult it is to still the mind. Type A personalities are lying there just waiting for it to be over so they can get up and get back to the three dozen things they have on their "to do list." Others may have lost consciousness completely and are beginning to doze a bit, dreamy images floating through their minds. Those who are listening to the teacher and really trying to follow the instructions know that even at their most relaxed, fragments of thought continue to interfere with the quiet. Most people can let go of the body but the mind continues to cling on.

Next page >> Shavasana Step By Step >> Page 1, 2

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