Shavasana, the corpse pose, is the simplest yet most important pose of yoga.
Be it a slow pace yoga style like yin, restorative yoga or the fast pace vinyasa style, Shavasana is there in all yoga styles. It’s a relaxing posture performed at the end of yoga to calm your mind and re-energize your body.
However, sometimes people skip those 10 to 15 minutes of Shavasana after yoga and left the class as quickly as they get out of the last pose. They feel that in 10-15 minutes they can check off some work from their to-do list or they find it extremely difficult to stay still.
Skipping Shavasana after yoga means you’re left out from the most ecstatic feeling you could have in general yoga practice.
The importance of the corpse pose or Shavasana can be seen from the fact that it gives the body the necessary rest after performing active yoga sessions. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system that helps the body get into its routine and let it calm down.
Shavasana is one of the easiest yoga poses; you need to lie down on your yoga mat with your arms beside you, palms facing up and legs straight. After closing your eyes, rest in this pose for a few minutes. Even if you perform it for 3-5minutes, you will gain the same benefits.
However, it is also one of the hardest to sustain. You need to lie completely still and revel in the sensations going through your body. Even though you have closed your eyes, you are aware of your surroundings yet completely relaxed.
You should not skip Shavasana and here’s why;
Savasana calm down the activated physical activity
Whether it is the stress from your busy schedule, practicing sports, or performing a 60 minutes yoga session, lying down on a yoga mat and completely letting go trumps everything. Savasana is the best way to let go of everything and just relax.
It directly affects your heart rate and breathing pattern. Fast heartbeat, heavier breathing, excessive sweat, adrenaline, etc are all signs of your SNS or sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) being activated.
So when you lie down, your body will start countering them by shifting to the PNS or parasympathetic nervous system mode (rest and digest). Just like meditation, it improves your circulation, aids in the functioning of all the major organs, boosts immunity, and sets you on the path to recovery.
By reducing stress and fatigue it will pacify the nervous system and leave you feeling rejuvenated.
It improves breath awareness
Breathing is something that we perform involuntarily. And it is also one of the most neglected aspects of our lives. Yoga teaches us to pay attention to our breath while practicing physical poses.
The breathing is greatly responsible for the shift from SNS to PNS through long exhalations. The awareness that you bring in for this breathing pattern is also a part of this process.
Since our minds are running with various thoughts, plans being made, schedules being created, songs being sung, decisions being made, savasana will encourage you to move away from such things for a while.
And when you make a conscious effort to gain mental clarity by bringing your entire focus on your breathing, you feel more calm, collected, stable, and relaxed.
It promotes natural detoxification process
Savasana can also be performed after an invigorating pranayama practice. When practicing pranayamas such as Ujjayi or Bhastrika, your focus is on powerful exhalations from the abdomen. Generating inner heat is one of the key factors in removing toxins from the body as well as the mind.
During the practice of such pranayamas, the SNS mode is activated. Performing savasana will give you the opportunity to experience the effects of such intense movements and shift to the PNS mode.
It will let the bodywork around spread the energy generated from such breathing exercising and enhance the detoxification process by giving it time to relax, rest and digest.
It helps you be aware of the flow of energy
It has been said time and again that savasana is a way to let your body relax and relish in the movement of energy.
You must have noticed the feeling in your muscles, the sensation of your muscles being stretched, or fluid movement when you perform an asana that focuses on a particular body part. Now imagine the same sensations after you have performed a range of asanas for 60-90 minutes.
After you lie down for savasana, you may feel tired but this pose encourages you to be conscious of the movements happening within your body. The awareness will help you in directing the energy for other useful matters.
Savasana teaches you to be conscious of the prana energy and train your mind to shift it towards a more purposeful use.
Savasana aid in building habit for yoga through a reward system
Who doesn’t like rewards? It can either be in the form of praise a gift or a positive outcome. Many of us are too lazy to start practicing yoga and make up many excuses to attend a class. Even if you are practicing it at home, you will consciously or unconsciously avoid it.
Once you have experienced the benefits of savasana, the bliss of doing nothing after all the movements, twists, and bends, you will eventually find a reason to practice yoga. A process where you are giving yourself time to relax, just letting your thoughts flow, not dwelling on many pros and cons, and away from the busy life is akin to a reward.
We seldom spend time for ourselves or crave to find peace, savasana gives you the opportunity to experience it.
Savasana is a great way to build resilience
As it was stated earlier, savasana may look simple but is one of the hardest to practice. Laying down on your bed to sleep is completely different from spending some time to relax after a yoga session.
Most people have planned out their day and have a schedule to fulfill as soon as the yoga ends. However, making a conscious effort to spend at least 3-10 minutes on closing your eyes and just lying still is a huge task in itself.
Here, you are not moving any limbs so you may feel that you are not doing anything. But with the benefits that have been panned out above, it is safe to say that it is an integral part of yoga. Thus, not doing anything, disciplining the mind to not stray away from mindless thoughts, and just enjoying the moment builds a certain resilience to control the body and mind.
So the next time you attend a yoga class, do not avoid this important pose. Spending 10 minutes for yourself will uplift your mood, enhance your productivity and keep you in the present.