Whole Life Magazine

August / September 2016

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/709470

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 43

By R. Grant Ramey, Ph.D. A more restful asana A t the end of most yoga classes, savasana, or Corpse Pose, sometimes seems like a reward for the work that's been done, but the asana has a more lofty purpose— to relax your body and quiet your mind. Relaxation can be improved from the traditional Corpse Pose by using props to support parts of the body. Body Repose (BR) is the most com- plete, comfortable and relaxing supine position possible using ordinary props. Traditionally in savasana we lie fl at on our backs with legs and arms straight. Restorative Yoga teachers suggest the pose is more comfortable and relaxing with various supportive props under the knees, head, low back, wrists and ankles, referred to as "supported corpse pose" or "salamba savasana." However, the placement and accuracy of props varies according to the teacher. Maximum benefi t for relaxation requires more anatom- ical precision and support for the whole body, which can be ac- complished with BR. BR is more effective for relaxation because of the accuracy of using props to fi t the natural size and shape of your whole body, not just various parts. With BR you are educating yourself with somatic awareness to be in a more natural, relaxed form. By letting go without effort, you are able to undo habits that hurt, which allows you to embody habits that heal. Tense, tight or stiff muscles automatically release without stretching. Aches and pains are alleviated rapidly. The Body Repose position is self-therapeutic, integrative and meditative without needing to do any postures beforehand. It is probably easier to do at home where you have access to a greater variety of props than is generally available in a yoga studio. However, by understanding the principles you can still create more physical relaxation in your savasana. Instructions for Body Repose • Lie supine on a cushioned surface with your feet close to a wall. Yoga mats are somewhat hard, designed more for non- slip characteristics. • When legs are straight, knees are locked, which is counter- productive for releasing. Place pillows, a rolled blanket or a bolster under your knees 8-12 inches high so that the curve of the low back is reduced to the point where there is relief from any tension or pain. This works better than a lumbar support. To keep the legs from splaying, raise the sides of this support with small folded towels or shoes. • Grounding the soles of your feet is important and often relieves low-back pain. Relaxed feet are fl exed and evert- ed. Place a rolled blanket or large pillow folded lengthwise against the wall that is wider than your hips and as high as your feet. Have the arches of the feet hip-width apart, gen- tly contacting the curved surface of the blanket or pillow. • Use a pillow if necessary to make your head level. It can be up to three inches. Experiment to fi nd what feels most comfortable for you. • Cushioning the curve of the neck adds to the level of comfort if done properly. Use something soft to allow the cervical vertebra to move with breath. • Elbow joints are locked when arms are straight. Place your hands on your abdomen to bend the elbows. To truly relax the shoulders you need to elevate the elbows 2-4 inches, depend- ing on your body size. You can use folded towels. • Cupping the hands in their natural shape is probably the most important element of body repose. Place two balled-up socks on your abdomen, and cover with your two palms. Have your wrists and fi ngertips in contact with your body. R. Grant Ramey, Ph.D. in somatic psychology, is the inventor of the EmbodiChairTM. He is the author of Best Relaxation Po- sitions and has been teaching Embodiment since 1982. www. embodiment.com yoga & spirit FROM CORPSE POSE TO BODY REPOSE 22 wholelifetimes.com

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Whole Life Magazine - August / September 2016