How to practice SHAVASANA – Corpse pose
Learn about the significance and practice of Shavasana -one of the most important relaxation poses – in the following article written by Carolin Dutt, an Austrian Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga Teacher living and teaching at Pratham Yoga School Rishikesh, India.
What is Shavasana?
Shavanasa is part of the relaxation Asanas group. ‘shav ‘ literally means corpse and ‘asana’ means posture, therefore it is also known as dead body pose.
As the name already implies, shavansana is a posture in which the position of a dead body is attained.
In one of the main Yoga scriptures, Hatha Yoga Pradipika (1:32), it is stated:
Uttaanam shavavadbhoomau shayanam tachchhavaasanam.
Shavaasanam shraantiharam chittavishraantikaarakam.
Lying flat on the ground with face upward, in the manner of a dead body, is shavasana.
It removes tiredness and enables the mind and the whole body to relax.
The main benefits of Shavanasana practice are:
· Relaxes the central nervous system
· Reduces blood pressure
· Calms the mind
· Releases tensions and stress from body and mind
· Improves sleep quality
· Builds physical, mental and spiritual awareness
When and how often to practice?
· At the end of every Asana practice
· In between physically challenging postures if you feel like resting
· At the end of an exhausting day or whenever feeling mentally or physically tired
· Yoga therapeutic to reduce blood pressure: a few times a day
· Yoga therapeutic to improve sleep: before going to bed
How long to practice:
· In general the longer the better, but a minimum of 5 -7 minutes is recommended after an hour of Asana practice. 10 – 15 minutes after 90 min of Asana & Pranayama practice.
Read more interesting points after the guidance in our Savasana FAQ !
How to practice Shavasana:
1. Lie down on your Yoga mat and make yourself as comfortable as possible.
2. If you practice in a cold room you may cover your body with a light blanket.
3. If you like you can use an eye cushion to keep your eyes dark. You may also use small pillows under your knees for more comfort.
4. Staying still: try not to move your body while the complete relaxation and also keep your eyes closed. This are one of the biggest challenges while practicing, most beginners have very strong urges to keep adjusting and moving their body parts while practice or keeping “control” by opening their eyes every now and then.
1. Lie down on your mat, and cover your body if necessary.
2. Your feet are around hip with apart. Let your toes fall to the sides.
3. Place your arms a bit away from the body with palms facing upward.
4. Your head and neck stay straight and relaxed on the mat.
5. Close your eyes and keep them closed.
6. Mentally visualize relaxing each of the called body parts and try to let go of any tension.
7. Relax your toes, each of your toes is relaxed.
8. Relax your soles of the feet, your soles of the feet are relaxed.
9. Relax your heels, your heels are relaxed.
10. Relax your back of the feet, your back of the feet are relaxed.
11. Relax your complete feet, your feet are relaxed.
12. Relax your ankles, your ankles are relaxed.
13. Relax your calves, your calves are relaxed.
14. Relax your shinbones, your shinbones are relaxed.
15. Relax your knees, your knees are relaxed.
16. Relax your thighs, your thighs are relaxed.
17. Relax your back of the thighs, your back of the thighs are relaxed.
18. Relax your entire legs, your legs are relaxed.
19. Relax your buttocks, your buttocks is relaxed.
20. Relax your pelvic floor, your pelvic floor is relaxed.
21. Relax your abdominal organs, your abdominal organs are relaxed.
22. Relax your core muscles, your core muscles are relaxed.
23. Your entire abdominal organs are relaxed.
24. Relax your base of the spine, your base of the spine is relaxed.
25. Relax your lower back, your lower back is relaxed.
26. Relax your middle back, your middle back is relaxed.
27. Relax your upper back, your upper back is relaxed.
28. Relax your shoulders, your shoulders are relaxed.
29. Your entire back and shoulders are now relaxed.
30. Relax your torso, your thorso is relaxed.
31. Relax your rip case, your rip case is relaxed.
32. Relax your lungs and heart, your lungs and heart are relaxed.
33. Relax your upper arms, your upper arms are relaxed.
34. Relax your elbows, your elbows are relaxed.
35. Relax your lower arms, your lower arms are relaxed.
36. Relax your wrists, your wrists are relaxed.
37. Relax your palms, your palms are relaxed.
38. Relax each of your fingers, your fingers are relaxed.
39. Relax your complete arms and hands, your arms and hands are relaxed.
40. Relax your neck and throat, your neck and throat are relaxed.
41. Relax your chaw, your chaw is relaxed.
42. Relax your mouth and open your mouth slightly, to fully relax.
43. Relax your cheeks and nose, your cheeks and nose are relaxed.
44. Relax your eyes, your eyes are fully relaxed.
45. Relax your ears, your ears are relaxed.
46. Relax your forehead, your forehead is fully relaxed.
47. Relax your complete face, your face is relaxed.
48. Relax your scalp and head, your scalp and head are fully relaxed.
49. Relax your mind, let your thoughts pass by without holding on to them.
50. Your entire body and mind are now fully relaxed.
51. With each breath you are sinking deeper into the mat, completely relaxed.
52. Keep observing your breath and the natural movement of your breath.
53. After some time bring your awareness back to your toes and fingers and gently move them.
54. With closed eyes turn your neck from one side to the other side.
55. Bring your both legs together and with inhale stretch your arms far over your head.
56. Stretch your entire body and exhale relax. Repeat.
57. Bend your legs and slowly turn over to your right side.
58. Take a couple of deep and long breaths here and then slowly sit up into simple crossed leg.
59. Still with closed eyes, straighten your spine and join your both palms together in front of your heart center. Feel your palms touching other.
60. Chant one time AUM and three times SHANTI to complete the practice.
61. Rub your palms and over your eyes. Rub your palms again and spread the energy over your body.
62. Gently bow down and open your eyes.
Why should I not move my body while practice?
Even the slightest movement involves some kind of muscle activation and will therefore interrupt the relaxation process bringing the attention away from the guidance.
Why should my palms face upwards?
The skin on the backside of the hand is much less sensitive than the skin on the palm, so the main reason is to reduce sensory exposure and make it as easy as possible to relax and focus inward.
Why should I keep my eyes closed?
When we close our eyes while practice it will be much easier to stay aware and let go of outward sense expressions through the eyes. Closing the eyes also helps us not to lose energy through our eyes and keep more energy within the system.
Can I practice Shavasana while pregnancy?
The benefits of Shavanasa while pregnancy are great, so this practice should definitely be continued during each trimester. If you feel comfortable you can practice until end of 4th month on your back, later from the second half of the 2nd Trimester it is highly recommended to practice while lying comfortably on your left side with a few extra pillows for your had and legs.
Why should I stay awake while Shavasana?
To gain the full benefits of the practice it is very important to stay awake and practice with full awareness. Only then the benefits can be observed. While it can happen that people fall asleep, it should not happen regularly. Try to focus on the guidance with full awareness.
If you have any question related to Shavasana please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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