Shavasana : The Corpse Pose

The Sanskrit word shava means corpse hence this is the Corpse. The Corpse Pose or Savasana may look like a simple relaxing pose that is done in between or after an Asana, but this exercise requires a lot of concentration and will develop through continued practice. This exercise, if done correctly, will stimulate blood circulation and will lessen or relieve fatigue, nervousness, asthma, constipation, diabetes, indigestion, and insomnia. It will also improve one’s mental concentration.

Shavasana : The Corpse Pose - Detailed Description


"Lie on the ground with the face downwards and both hands under the chest touching the ground with the palms of the hands and both legs raised in the air ten inches high. This is called the Shalabha posture." - The Gheranda-samhita II.39
Steps:
  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs together but not touching, and your arms close to the body with the palms facing up.
  2. Keep your eyes gently closed with the facial muscles relaxed and breath deeply and slowly through the nostrils.
  3. Starting at the top of the head and working your way down to the feet, bring your attention to each part of your body, consciously relaxing it before proceeding on to the next.
  4. Remain in the shava-asana for between 3 and 5 minutes or longer. If you become sleepy while in the shava-asana begin to breath a bit faster and deeper.
Benefits:
  • The ardha-chandra-asana is a basic stretching and balancing pose that benefits principly the lower back, abdomen and chest. It is equally suitable for use in your stretching routine as well as formal asana practice. the benefits can be numerated as:
  • While many consider this a simple posture at first, its simplicity eventually proves to be deceiving. The goal of the shava-asana is for the body and mind to be perfectly still and relaxed. Not only should the body be motionless and at ease, but the mind as well should be quiet, like the surface of a still lake. The result will be a deep and stable relaxation that will extend into your meditation or be felt through the activities of your daily circumstances.
  • It goes without saying that the shava-asana will take some time to perfect. You will find the simple exercise of focusing your attention on each part of your body and consciously directing the breath there to be a great help with this posture.
  • There are two common obstacles that can prevent you from fully benefitting from this posture: sleepiness and a restless mind. If find yourself getting drowsey while in the shava-asana increase the rate and depth of your breathing. If your mind is restless or wondering focus your attention on all of the bodily senations you're experiencing. Bring your mind to the sensation of the floor beneath you or on the rhythm of your breath.
Tips and Help:
  • While practing your Yoga-asana routine you should always begin and end each session with the shava-asana.


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