IN CLASS, YOGA teachers often recommend five minutes of Corpse Pose for every 20 minutes of asana poses; when you are practicing at home, you can stay in Savasana as long as you like. But after you are finished, then what? Reflecting on Namaste or Om are simple and meditative options.
One calming addition to a home practice is to sit in a meditative posture such as Hero Pose or any comfortable seated position and say Namaste as you bow your head and bring your hands to the prayer position (Anjali Mudra) in front of your heart. You may have heard teachers say Namaste at the end of class but not known exactly why. The gesture represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us located in the heart centre, or heart chakra. The literal translation is “I bow to you” (Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you).
Your teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of respect for their students and their own teachers, in turn inviting students to connect with the notion that we are all one when we live from the heart. When alone, bowing your head and closing your eyes helps your mind surrender to the Divine in the heart.
You may also chant Om, a mantra or vibration that is said to be the sound of the universe pulsating. Chanting Om allows us to recognise our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, we are taken for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
HERO POSE – VIRASANA
[ vira = hero sana = pose ]
Hero Pose: Kneel on your mat, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, your inner knees together, your feet slightly wider than your hips, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot into the floor.
Exhale and sit back halfway, your torso leaning slightly forward. Wedge your thumbs into the backs of your knees and draw the flesh of the calves toward the heels. Then sit down between your feet.
Turn your thighs inward and press the heads of your thighbones into the floor with the palms of your hands. Keep hugging your ankles toward your hips.
Lay your hands on your thighs, palms down, or in your lap, palms up. Stay in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, increasing the length over time to 5 minutes.
Ideally, meditating on Namaste or Om is done at the end of a sequence because the mind is less active and the energy you feel is more peaceful.