22 April 2013

Savasana or No asana?

So this is the one thing in Sharath's new book ASTANGA YOGA ANUSTHANA that took me slightly by surprise. At the end of the yoga practice Sharath says "take rest". In Mysore he says "go home and take rest". Many, many books and teachers (including myself) refer to the pose below as savasana. Sharath says in his book this is NOT savasana as no asana (pose) is being done. Thoughts anyone?


  1. Curious thing about this picture is that Sharath does seem to be demonstrating the more formal Savasana rather than Sukhasana (easy pose).

    In Petri's Raisanen book, which he mentions he went through carefully in daily afternoon meetings with Sharath and Pattabhi Jois over a period of two months to verify details, there is this note
    "Pattabhi Jois called the pose resting pose; Sharath Jois called it Sukhasana, easy pose. It is commonly known as Savasana, corpse pose".

    In Nancy's 1974 syllabus it appears at along with the rest of the finishing postures at the end of the fourth year although Michelle over at Florence yoga mentions that the finishing sequence was taught after 2nd series, perhaps that includes the more formal Savasana.

    ""Backbends from both the floor (Urdhva Dhanurasana) and standing ("drop-backs") were taught after Intermediate Series, as was the rest of the finishing sequence (Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana, Urdhva Padmasana, Pindasana, Matsyasana, Uttana Padasana, and Sirsasana). Up until this point, we had just been doing Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana at the end of our practice."

    In other words, they weren't taught the closing sequence until they had learned all of Second Series!"

    A couple a notes from a post I did on this recently

    "Darby in his video said finishing sequence started with Stiff Corpse Pose.. then shoulderstand etc etc".


    "Darby says that had forgotten. Richard includes stiff corpse pose too and I seem to remember Nancy saying she missed it...I must check her workshop on the confluence video, might do a post on stiff corpse pose".

    "Just a quick note . Nancy Gilgoff says that stiff corps wasn't there in the beginning, appeared for a short time but then was taken out again at 32 minutes into this video http://youtu.be/aGTOpcwf1kw "

    "this posture was never in there in the beginning, it appeared for a short time and then was taken out again. I think it's really nice so i left it in. So it's five breaths, it's not rest time, it's a very stiff body. Feet together, tilt your pelvis back, there's a ollowness coming in the belly, chin down. 1....2....3...4...5....readjust yourself...and roll up into sarvangasana (shoulder stand). ....if you did that last posture with a lot of strength in it, you kinda float up". Nancy Gilgoff

  2. Lots of food for thought here....Nancy was taught 1st and second series at the same time so they would have come to closing fairly swiftly I reckon. I have practised with Nancy for more than 10 years & have never heard her refer to stiff corpse pose. Sharath says "lie down" before shoulder stand, but doesn't call this a pose ( at least ive never heard him) this I believe is fairly new ( past 5-8 years) ever changing I guess :-)


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