How to Be a Corpse

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Shavasana involves more than collapsing onto the floor in a crumpled heap after a long, hard day and wishing you were dead. Let's practice the corpse pose with a little more focus!

Shavasana: Yoga's corpse pose.

1. Lie comfortably on your back on the floor, and separate your legs so your feet are two to three feet apart. Let your toes fall out to the sides. Close your eyes.

2. Separate your arms so that each hand is two to three feet from your body, with each palm facing up.

3. Roll your head from side to side, releasing tension in your neck.

4. Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears.

5. Allow your attention to travel up and down your body, scanning for tight spots or contracted muscles. When you find a tight spot, gently tell the area to relax (out loud, if it helps). For example, "Chill out, right shoulder!" You may have to say it twice. Place a pillow under your knees or head if this helps you relax.

6. Repeat your body scan until your body is completely relaxed.

7. Now bring your attention to your breath. Listen to your breath. Don't try to control it. Simply observe it. Feel it flowing in and out of you. Make the sound and feel of your breath the sole focus of your attention.

8. If part of your body starts to tense up, redirect your mind to the tense area and focus on relaxing it again. Then return to the breath.

9. As thoughts pop into your mind ("If my computer crashes again today, I'm gonna throw it out the window." "That new guy at the office sure is cute!"), let them pass back out of your mind. Imagine they are soap bubbles—allow your breath to blow them away softly, up into the sky.

10. Come back to the breath. Back to the breath. To the breath. The breath. Breath. Om.

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