Shavasana (Corpse Pose): Meaning, Steps & Benefits

shavasana (corpse Pose)
Image Source: Canva

Shavasana is a beginner level restorative yogic posture. It is practiced at end of a yoga session lying in the supine position. This pose is quite easy to perform but requires a focused mind to perform it efficiently.

It is performed lying still on the ground with legs stretched out and arms slightly away from the body. The body is kept relaxed followed by rhythmic deep breathing.

It relaxes and rejuvenates every muscle in the body as well as calms the nervous system. It is a great posture to attain peace of mind and boost energy levels.

Meaning and Significance

The name ‘Shavasana” is a Sanskrit word formed by two root terms. “Shava’ means “corpse” and “asana” is “pose”. The body is kept motionless while holding the pose just like a corpse, hence the name.

On emulating a corpse like quality of this pose also named it Mrtasana in Sanskrit.

The pose is all about bringing calm to the mind by being present at the moment. It is also performed as a post yogic session to relax the muscles from the intense workout.

It is also known as corpse pose or mritasana.

Practice Guide of Shavasana

shavasana practice guide
Image Source: Canva

Precautions & Contraindication

  • Make sure that the body remains still, without even slightest of the movement.
  • Avoid the tilting of the head towards any of the shoulders.
  • Do not perform it with a distracted or disturbed state of mind, it might end up causing headache or frustration.
  • Do not practice Shavasana in the later stages of pregnancy.
  • If there is a back injury perform this asana with bent knees and feet on the floor.

Preparatory poses

Shavasana is usually performed after dynamic yogic postures like sun salutation after each yogic session. Pranayama is also usually performed before Shavasana.

How to Do Shavasana (Steps)

  1. Lie down in supine position.
  2. Relaxing the shoulders take your arms 15cm away from the body.
  3. Straighten the arms and let the palms facing upward with curled fingertips.
  4. Spreading the feet slightly apart find your comfortable pose.
  5. Close your eyes gently and relax the whole body.
  6. Keeping the body motioless continue breathing deeply.
  7. Become mindful and bring your awareness to your body parts, starting with the right foot, moving onto the right knee, and to the entire right leg.
  8. Then repeat the same with the left leg. Similarly moving upwards to your head.
  9. Inhale deeply energizing the body and exhale gently relaxing the entire body.
  10. Be present at the moment surrendering the body to the floor and hold the pose for 10-20 minutes.
  11. Bring your awareness to your body and the surroundings.
  12. Keeping your eyes closed roll on to your left and be there for a minute.
  13. Pressing the right palm to the floor, gently sit up in an easy pose.
  14. Stay in the seated position with eyes closed keep breathing deeply.
  15. When you feel satisfied, gently open your eyes.

Do not fall asleep while attempting this relaxing pose. Stay conscious while resting the body and mind in Shavasana.

Follow-up Pose

Props and Modifications

shavasana with bolster
Image Source: Canva
  • Pillow/ blanket – Place a pillow or folded blanket under your head. This will bring the head aligned with the body. This will ease any discomfort while holding the posture.
  • Bolster – Keeping your head over the folded blanket roll a bolster behind your knees. This will support the knee and relaxes the back even more in Shavasana.
  • Chair – Lie down on your back keeping the knees bent and foot on the floor. Place a chair in front of your feet. Raise your legs off the ground. Put them calves and heels resting on the chair. This provides more relaxation to the legs in an inverted position.
  • Pillows for side-lying Shavasana – Lie on your side on the floor keeping a pillow under your head. Place a pillow between your legs and between your forearms. The hands are joined together beyond the arm pillow.

Variations

  • Savasana variation bent legs – Lie down on your back keeping the legs bent on knees. The feet touch the ground and arms lying by your sides with palms facing up.
  • Savasana variation Arms Up – After coming to a supine position with straight legs slightly separated. Inhale and extend your hands overhead with palms facing up.
  • Savasana Hands Bent on the Side Variation – Lie on your back, bring your arms by your sides. From there bending your elbows bring your hands to your shoulder level with palms facing up.
  • Advasana – Lie on your stomach and raise arms overhead with palms facing the floor. Bring your forehead to the floor and relax the body.
  • One more variation of Shavasana could be performed lying on your stomach. Bring your hands to the front keeping the elbows flexed outwards. Rest your forehead over the hands and relax focusing on your breath

Shavasana Benefits

1. Relaxes the body

Shavasana relaxes the entire body muscles. This posture is about being mindful and aware of the breath. It rejuvenates your body by bringing sufficient oxygen to the muscles and releases any trapped tensions.

2. Soothes the nervous system

In this posture, the entire spine is kept straight from the crown and relaxed. Due to the relaxation of the spine along with deep breathing the nervous system also relaxes and the mind becomes calm.

It is even therapeutic in stress, mild depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

3. Reduces blood pressure

Along with relaxing the body and mind, the blood pressure is also improved. Keep body out of stress and fatigue, the blood pressure also drops relaxing the heart.

4. Enhances concentration

Since Shavasana brings the body into a deep meditative state. It enables the practitioner to focus on every body part. It enriches the mind and ultimately boosts memory and concentration.

5. Boosts energy level

This pose can be performed to regain energy instantly if you are tired or stressed. Everybody part is relaxed and the productivity enhances by rejuvenating the body.

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