The Mythology of Savasana

There was a king, Parikshit Maharaj. He was a wise and just ruler and took good care of his subjects. One day when out riding he became very thirsty. and realising he was close to the hermitage of sage Shamika Rishi went to ask for water. However, the sage was in a deep meditation and was unable to hear the King's request. Angry, the King threw a dead snake around the sage's neck and left, but his actions were watched by the sage's son, who infuriated by the insult cursed the King to be killed in seven days by a snake bite. 

When he awoke from his meditation Shamika Rishi rebuked his son, but nothing could be done to remove the curse.

King Parikshit however accepted his fate. He handed over his throne, and travelled to the ganges to learn the science of Yoga from the many Holy Men there. After seven days of intense teaching the King achieved self-realisation, and understanding that this death realise him from the endless cycle of death and rebirth he lay down happily to receive it. 

People often shy away from the term 'corpse' when describing savasana, the ideals of this deeply restorative and peaceful pose seem somehow at odds with our negative assumptions about death. However, when we embrace this symbolic death, we see each round of savasana is an opportunity to be born anew at the end of our practice. Savasana asks us to surrender and be open to death, to the unknown and to the changes that we truly need in our lives. It ask us to release our preconceived notions of the good the bad and the ugly and open up to infinite possibility, it does not teach us how to die so much as how to live; with grace, acceptance, with vigor and without fear.

We come into this world with empty hands, and we must leave with empty hands. Being conscious of death in a yogic way does not turn us into curmudgeons, but instead allows us to live every moment in freedom and joy
— Alanna Kaivalya, Myths of the Asanas