Savasana is also known as “corpse pose”. But is it truly trying to do literal corpses out of us? Well, apparently some people would have us think so!
I’m exaggerating now, of course. No one is actually suggesting that savasana – the relaxing, serene pose in which we lie and rest for several minutes at the end of every yoga practice – could potentially kill us. But as difficult as it may be to believe, beings are gravely proposing that this classic yoga constitute could disable us. And so in the interest of some education on understanding research papers, a little pain science primer, and a prolonged spur for less fearmongering in the yoga world, I’ve decided to examine this intriguing topic today.
IS SAVASANA OUT TO GET US?
I was inspired to write this article because of a recent widely-read blog post that was brought to my attention. This blog affix cited a research paper that suggested that savasana could potentially be a injurious constitute. In order to support this study’s suggestion, the blog post proposed that because our people have adapted to the activity of sitting in chairs, most of us are not well-suited to lying flat on the storey. As a outcome, when we lie in savasana, our back bridges and our prickle is “compressed” and “overloaded”. The scribe records: “For many, lying on the storey originates far higher consignments on crippled tissue than you might expect for something as’ simple’ as lying on the floor.”
The author proposes that instead of consist flat on the flooring, most people should bolster their front and shoulders up higher in savasana in order to re-arrange the position of their own bodies and avoided possible injury in the pose.
Before we examine this claim further, let’s first take a look at the research paper that was cited in order to justify the notion that savasana is injurious.
THE RESEARCH PAPER ON YOGA& INJURIES: A VERY PROBLEMATIC STUDY
I secured a copy of the full analyse in question in order to explore its declarations further. Titled “Soft Tissue& Bony Injuries Attributed to the Practice of Yoga”( Lee et al 2019 ), health researchers retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 89 patients who claimed to have suffered yoga-related gashes. According to the researchers, “therere” 12 “patient reported yoga constitutes that have contributed to injury”( page 427 ), and one of the following options constitutes was savasana.
This study is significantly questionable for numerous rationales. First of all, it is a retrospective analyze, which is a very low-quality form of evidence that relies only on subjective remembers( i.e. fables and not secondary data) to begin with.
Second of all, the study results in no way launches causation between savasana and gash. At most, the study might show that a handful of beings claimed to experience a symptom of suffering or ache while in savasana. This does not establish injury. Additionally, it does not establish duration degree between the two variables( a inevitability for determining causation ), and it does not examine any of the myriad intersperse reasons that is likely to( and most likely are !) involved in the reported pain knowledge during savasana.
Another important spot about this study is that it was not done on a representative, random sample of people who do yoga, and is therefore not generalizable to the greater yoga population. The people selected for the study all attended the same medical clinic and they everyone has significant comorbid health conditions such as osteoporosis, cancer, and hyperlipidemia. Therefore we can’t make any surmises from this study about the population at large of yoga practitioners.
Furthermore, the researchers did not include any non-injured patients, which means they selected on the dependent variable exclusively. What about all of the people who went into the clinic who happened to practice yoga and were not injured? These cases weren’t considered in this study. And we can safely assume that they all did savasana at the end of every single one of their yoga categorizes. Why didn’t this injurious pose send them into the clinic as well?
For these and many other reasons that we don’t have time to discuss now, this study is not causal, is not valid, and is honestly not worthy of citing due to its terribly poor quality design. In fact, according to the terms of an academic researcher I consulted about the study results( who just so happens to be my husband 🙂 ): “From a causal perspective, this study is garbage.”
FLAWED Investigate ASIDE – WHAT ABOUT PAIN SCIENCE?
We’ve established that the study in question is deeply flawed. But that major problem digression, where is an understanding of modern pain science in either the study results or the blog upright that quoth such studies? One of “the worlds largest” foundational insights about pain that we understand today is that the link between pain and material impair is quite tenuous. Many beings suffer ache in their bodies with no accompanied damage, and many people have damage in their tissues and no accompanied pain.
This means that simply because something hurts or is uncomfortable does not necessarily mean that tissue damage is taking place. A helpful utterance widely used in the therapeutic and rehabilitation world-wides these days is “hurt does not equal harm”, and I believe this is a crucial insight that is missing from this discussion about savasana and injury.
Additionally, we know that in order to sustain an injury( material shatter ), the security forces involved generally need to be significantly high and/ or fast. The simple deed of lying on the flooring in savasana includes neither high nor fast pushes. It is simply not plausible that this benign pose could actually cause tissue damage in our body.
Now I definitely don’t disagree with the blog pole author that numerous beings feel pain while lying flat on the flooring in savasana. This is absolutely true, and many of us could find a more comfy and unwinding constitute by adding some props so that our form feels more supported.
But there’s an important difference between suggesting that parties should prop their savasana up for solace and suggesting that they should prop their savasana up in order to avoid injury. The former will help people find more informality and potentially represent more “yoga” in their constitute; the latter will potentially serve as a nocebo – a negative expectation of an otherwise harmless affair or action that causes negative consequences like pain.
Suggesting that savasana can injure us is nocebic because we understand today that tendernes is a multifactorial yield of our nervous system that can be influenced by countless causes beyond biomechanical ones. Beliefs and social affects are two well-established benefactors to pain knows( among many other psychological and social ingredients as well .)
The more that we spread a message about the fragility and vulnerability of our materials( especially in low-load frameworks that can not realistically injure us ), the more we can influence parties to have less confidence and trust in the innate strong and robusticity in their body. This can result in people’s nervous systems creating more painful feelings than they otherwise would have in innocent yoga constitutes like savasana and beyond.
It’s easy for well-meaning yoga and flow teaches to generate unintentional trauma when communicating about the human body. The more we can educate ourselves about anguish science and the potential negative effects of nocebos, the more likely we will be to teach about their own bodies in productive, entitling ways.
Additionally, I urge all of us( including myself !) to become more active purchasers of knowledge. If we understand a single survey being used to make a wide-reaching contend, rather than taking that claim at face value, we would be wise to feel skeptical and potentially handle some of our own investigate to investigate further.
And finally – setting the science and the shortcoming learn digression, let’s not forget the power of horse sense. I symbolize … savasana? Really? Have we become such puny souls that we can’t lie on the flooring without harming ourselves? We should feel justified in using our common sense to question such claims.
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