Sun Salutation to Corpse Pose in Yoga

Start your yoga routine with the Sun Salutation and end with the Corpse Pose.

Guide to the Yoga Sun Salutation and Corpse Pose

Surya Namaskara, the original Sun Salutation name, is one of the most popular yoga styles in the Western world. It derives its popularity from the flexibility of its three routines – A, B and C – which can range from poses suitable for a beginner to the more advanced.

Due to the simplicity of the Sun Salutation postures, called asanas, many people use this style of yoga when learning the breathing routines of Hatha, while many instructors use some Sun Salutation Poses as a warm-up to other yoga routines.

Differences Between the Sun Salutation Routines

Many of the poses are the same in each of the Sun Salutations routines. Here are the poses included in Sun A:

  • Standing Mountain Pose
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Fold
  • Half Standing Forward Fold
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose
  • Upward-Facing Dog Pose
  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose
  • Half Standing Forward Fold
  • Standing Forward Fold
  • Mountain Pose

Sun B however generally substitutes the Warrior and Chair poses for the Upward Salute, whereas Sun C includes the Plank, Lunge and Cobra postures in its routine instead of the Four-Limbed Staff Pose.

Each of the routines are laid out in a sequence that allows the student to move from one pose to the next with minimal movement or lost time. Breathe in on the portion of the pose involving a stretch or extend; breathe out on the portion where you bend or contract.

Back to the Basics

In its basic form, its poses concentrate on stretching the whole body along with deep breathing to warm up core muscles. Warmed muscles are more pliable and flexible, thus reacting better to the moves within the postures. This also reduces the risk of injuring a muscle by stretching further than you could if not warmed. And because each pose can be done in a variety of ways, advanced students can do variations of a pose for more stretching and strength building or even a different routine.

Since the normal Sun Salutation poses are very basic, they are a great routine to do by themselves or to incorporate more advanced poses into them. For example, the Triangle Pose can be added to the Lunge to expand the flexibility of the hips, shoulders and abdominal core. The more advanced Standing Splits pose can follow the Mountain pose for an even deeper workout.

Unlike many other types of yoga, Sun Salutation can be practiced every day. Do one of the Sun routines daily and soon you’ll notice a difference both mentally and physically.

A Guide to the Yoga Corpse Pose

The Corpse Pose is usually the final pose in a yoga class. Also known as the Final Relaxation Pose, its purpose is to take you deep inside yourself through total relaxation and concentration. Because this pose is more mental than physical, it is often the hardest pose for beginner yogis to achieve.

In this pose, you lie completely still and concentrate on the awareness of your deepest and innermost state of consciousness, thus releasing the emotions and ideas that unconsciously guide your life – sometimes down the wrong path. It is here in this state that you find your true self.

Corpse Pose Benefits

Besides the physical benefits of the Corpse Pose, such as a decrease in heart rate, muscle tension and metabolic rate; lower blood pressure; a slowed rate of breathing, you’ll also experience a deeper calmness between your mind, body and soul. It is this awareness between all three that helps you focus, stay calm and experience less stress throughout the rest of your chaotic and hectic day. And we all know that having less stress, both mentally and physically has many health benefits of its own.

Doing the Corpse Pose

Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides with your hands about six inches away from your body, palms up. Let your feet naturally rotate outward. And close your eyes.

  • Breathe in and out naturally.
  • Relax and allow your body to feel as if it were sinking into the floor.
  • Starting at the soles of your feet and working up to the top of your head, concentrate on releasing every part of your body.
  • When you get to your head, concentrate on relaxing your face; let your eyes fall deep in their sockets. Peace and silence should permeate throughout your mind, body, and soul.
  • Dedicate five minutes to this pose for each 30 minutes of yoga practice.
  • To end the pose, begin to deepen your breath. Slowly, and through gentle movement, bring the physical awareness back to your body, by starting at the far end of your extremities and wiggling your fingers and toes. Now roll to your left or right side; lay there and rest for a moment. When ready, deeply inhale while bringing yourself up to a comfortable seated position.
  • Finish bringing yourself back to the present and carry the peace and stillness derived from the pose with you throughout the rest of your day.

Start with Sun Salutation – End with the Corpse Pose

If you have to leave class early, be sure to warm-up with the Sun Salutation, forgo doing another pose or two if necessary, but do not forgo doing the Corpse Pose because no yoga practice is complete without this final relaxation pose.

Shavashana Yoga Pose

Here is how to do the shavashana pose.

There are numerous things that delineate the differences between the cultures of the West and the East, and among the more highly interesting ones is the dissimilarity of perspectives regarding death.

The West views death as the complete cessation of someone’s physical life. in such a belief system, life is a one-shot deal and death is the final equalizer. Meanwhile, many in the East, particularly those who are followers of Hinduism and Buddhism, believe in a cycle of death and rebirth.

This latter belief is most likely one of the reasons why many in the East do not see death as something strange and to be feared. On the contrary, for those who believe in the death and rebirth cycle, death is a mere portal, a transition from one state of being to the other, with numerous possibilities for the continuation of life, albeit in another state of existence.

Shavashana yoga internalizes the effort to open up to a world of possibilities. It is literally translated as Corpse Pose. Another name for Shavashana is Mrtasana, directly translated as ‘death pose,’ which stems from the base form of the pose and mirrors the position of one who is already dead (physically).

Qualities of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

Shavashana yoga is a form of meditation. Although considered to be the ‘easiest’ pose in yoga, there are still variants and modifications to this pose because of the understanding that not everyone understands what comfort is, in the same manner. Comfort is main factor of this pose. As a form of stress relief, Shavashana helps the body and mind to synchronize and reset itself from any internal or external form of stress.

Towards the achievement of optimum results, focus is essential in Shavashana. Integrate the same level of focus into your daily routine, to help your body become rejuvenated, before continuing on to meet the everyday stresses of your life.

Here’s a Vidoe Demonstration of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

Benefits of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

  • Mental – the Shavashana Pose improves overall concentration, trains the mind to stay calm even when panic is already ensuing all around, increases your capacity to focus, lessens the incidence of anxiety attacks.
  • Physical – the Shavashana Pose is able to control heart rate and respiration. It loosens tense, bunched-up muscles and lowers blood pressure.
  • Spiritual – the Shavashana Pose allows the inner self to get in touch with concepts that are tied up with possibilities, or realities that are, as of yet, non-existing. By freeing the mind anxiety and stress, a whole world of pleasurable creativity is released within you.

Safety Alert

Shavashana Yoga is often so pleasurable to weary yogis seeking relief such that they sometimes fall asleep! When you’re performing this pose, try to soften your jaw and feel the heightened sense of your hearing. Initiate a heightened sense of withdrawal to get as relaxed as possible.

Avoid any wrestling of thoughts while trying to avoid sleeping, as this is one of the many distractions that you may encounter.

This pose is not recommended for people with back injuries that have not yet fully healed. Pregnant women who do this yoga exercise are also reminded to use props such as a rolled-up blanket to slightly elevate the head while lying down in order to avoid possible dizziness.

You have now learned about one of the most relaxing yoga poses there is; Shavashana Yoga. Use the demonstration video to see this pose in action, if you really want to call it action. It’s more likely you’ll have to resist falling asleep if you’re the least bit tired when you decide to practice it. Go ahead and subscribe to the Newsletter to get your hands on all 70 yoga videos. Next up, we’ll dive into “Namaste Yoga” and connect with the diving spark of life.