This is a contributed post by Phil Tucker with getmovingcatalog.com
Go ahead and try to picture it: what do you think is the most difficult pose in yoga? Are you imagining something inverted, with legs balanced on elbows, the spine curved into a capital ‘C’, tendons straining, muscles taut? If so, you’re headed in the wrong direction. Traditionally, the hardest pose in yoga is Savasana, commonly known as the “corpse pose”. What does it involve? Simply lying on your back, arms and legs extended, eyes closed. Suspicious? Confused? Then read on, and learn why Corpse Pose can be the most challenging pose in all of yoga.
Why is Savasana the most difficult pose?
First, let’s lay down a little groundwork before tackling the pose itself. What is the purpose of yoga? There are many, but most instructors and practitioners will say that one of its truest purposes is to help make you fully present in the now, in your life, to be fully energized and engaged with the world. Through the asanas (poses) the practitioner will engage in a form of moving meditation that is meant to help ground you in your body, make you fully aware of every inch of yourself, and to still your thoughts and help you find peace and serenity.
Now, those difficult athletic poses can be fun and challenging in their own ways, but they don’t hit at the essence of what yoga is about. The goal when you step onto your mat is to meet yourself, to check in with where you are on that day, and to find peace, acceptance, and joy in being alive. That is often not the mental focus of the more athletic poses, as simply being in them requires that you focus intensely on your body and what it is doing.
Where that sense of serenity truly comes into play is during the Savasana pose. All that it requires physically of you is to lie on your back, arms and legs outstretched, and close your eyes. To relax, allowing your tongue to lie on the bottom of your mouth and not stuck to the top, to loosen your jaw, and to sink into your mind. That is where the challenge arises. You will either be besieged by thoughts, or tempted to drift off into sleep. The challenge is to do neither: to allow thoughts to pass through your mind but not hold onto them, and to stay sufficiently present that you are self aware.
A state of near meditation
When you enter that state of near meditation, you will receive all the benefits of your workout as you feel how alive and vital your body feels, as well how that sense of wellness pervades your mind and soul. You need to float there, fully yourself but not given to any care, concern, worry, or doubt. That is your true self, your higher self, elevated and powerful, at ease and calm and serene.
Few people find it easy to slip into a deep, full Savasana without being besieged by distractions or lulled into sleep. However, that is where you touch the essence of yoga, where you replenish your mind and come into your power, which is why you must always approach this final pose with as much calm, deliberation, and focus as any of the more challenging physical poses.