What is Shavasana?
Shavasana is a posture that can help you achieve balance of breathing, body and mind at the same time and will help you to enter a state of prosperous rest. In Sanskrit, the word Shavasana translates as “corpse posture”. It is created in two parts: “sava”, which means corpse, and “asana” posture.
In The Key Poses of Yoga, its author Ray Long mentions that the corpse pose means the end of the yogic cycle. The typical cycle consists of:
- warming up the body through asana
- activation of the parasympathetic nervous system by working with breathing
- cooling the body with deep, balancing relaxation – Shavasana
We do amazing work on our body and breathing with asana and pranayama during yoga, but we must remember that Shavasana is the training of the mind. This posture is a stimulation for the mind.
Shavasana is what separates yoga from other forms of exercise – rest, balance and deep relaxation. Just as you take time to take a breath after running or swimming before moving on to other activities, so yoga takes time for your body and mind to fully recover with the Shavasana posture.
It allows us to release physical stress and lactic acid accumulated while doing other asanas. Shavasana allows us to relax, which is true yoga.
Useful tips for calm and rejuvenating Shavasana practice:
Create a suitable atmosphere
Our life is filled with noise, and our mind – with chaotic thoughts. The Shavasana posture offers us a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the peace and quiet of our inner world. Although certain music may seem appropriate for Shavasana practice, it is still a sensory stimulation and should be avoided.
Give your ears a rest. If possible, darken the room in which you practice, or, if possible, put on silk eye pillows, to insulate the light without making the room too dark.
Why is this recommended?
Those who are new to yoga will probably reject the meaning of the Shavasana posture and will not do so, especially since it is the last. But it is especially important because it rejuvenates the body and relaxes the mind. You must be completely still. The deeper you relax, the more you will benefit from the posture.
Benefits of practicing the Shavasana posture:
This pose is one of the most important in yoga and has numerous benefits that are not to be overlooked and therefore it is good to know.
- Brings the body into a meditative state – the body relaxes and goes into a deep meditative state, which in turn helps to restore cells and tissues and relieves stress from the body and mind.
- Relaxes and calms the body and mind – Shavasana posture is a great buffer between previous exercises in a yoga session and your daily duties.
- Reduces blood pressure and anxiety – as your body calms down, your blood pressure also drops and this helps you relax your heart. As a result, you take control of your anxiety and emotions.
- Improves concentration and memory – the direct effect of meditation is focusing and concentration. As you focus on each area of your body when you are in the Shavasana posture, your mind automatically improves your concentration and memory.
- Increases energy levels – Shavasana posture is the fastest and safest way to get the energy you need immediately. A 10-minute break gives your body an energetic flow.
Clear and simple instructions for the Shavasana posture
- Lay down on your back.
- Place your feet along the mat and let them relax to the side.
- Relax your arms a few inches from your body with your palms facing up.
- Aim your chin an inch at your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
- Close your eyes.
- Make one final adjustment to make it completely comfortable for you
- Breathe naturally.
Before you start the real relaxation, relax your whole body and put it, along with the mind, in complete rest.
- Relax the muscles of your whole body.
- Allow the body to sink to the floor.
- Relax your right foot.
- Relax your right foot, from toes to thighs.
- Relax your right arm.
- Relax the right hand from the fingers to the shoulder.
(Then repeat the same for the left side.)
- Relax your abdomen.
- Relax your chest.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Relax your face.
- Relax your whole body.
- Relax mentally.
- Relax emotionally.
- Your whole body is now completely relaxed and in blissful rest.
Leave an interval of about 10-20 seconds before moving on to the relaxation of the next part of your body.
You can also extend these guidelines by using the yoga nidra style approach, by signaling the relaxation of the fine areas in your body, your internal organs, such as the heart, ears and scalp. Then give yourself enough time to rest in silence, so you can create your own experience, peace…
You can also extend these guidelines by using the yoga nidra style approach, by signaling the relaxation of the fine areas in your body, your internal organs, such as the heart, ears and scalp. Then give yourself enough time to rest in silence so that you can create your own experience in the Shavasana pose. Give yourself between 10-15 minutes to recover.
How to properly get out of the Shavasana position?
When the time comes, you must carefully step out of position. Tell yourself the following:
“Now I’m starting to get out of position.
Very slowly and gently I begin to make small movements with my fingers and toes.
I take a deep breath, all the way to my stomach.
I place my hands over my head and stretch long and well, from the toes to the tips of the toes.”
Important for the correct exit from the Shavasana posture
At the end of the pose, you should roll on your right side in the position of the embryo, resting your head in the fold of your right hand. Then stand up straight without opening your eyes. Wait a little longer and enjoy the darkness behind your eyelids.
Here you can end the session with chanting “om”, mantra or thank for the experience. You will “wake up” far fresher and positive, ready to continue your day.
The Shavasana posture helps you to gather the whole yoga session into the last conscious act of relaxation of your mind, emotions and body. This pose is restorative, helping you keep the benefits you have received and move forward with your yoga practice in the future.
A few more details on the correct exit from the Shavasana posture
Transitions from pose to pose are often overlooked by yoga practitioners. People tend to rush into practice, forgetting to take time to get in and out of the poses. It is during these fast transitions that practitioners can inadvertently injure themselves.
In the transitions or breaks we learn the most about yoga. These pauses create time to reflect and account for the effect of each pose. This is one of the reasons to pause before proceeding to the last pose – Shavasana.
Staying connected to the calm and focus of the deep relaxation of the Shavasana posture is much easier if you do not get out of it suddenly. Take the time to stay with this rejuvenating feeling of calm and relaxation as you slowly pause on the way back to “normal” life. This is true yoga – transferring the experience from the mat to the rest of your life.
The reason for leaving the Shavasana position on the right is that we are far from the heart. Not that there is anything magical about it, although it is generally good to stick to this practice.
Why do we stick to the practice of rolling on the right side after completing the Shavasana pose?
- Physiological: The heart is on the left side of your body. When you roll on the right side, your heart stays open and without pressure. Your heart also stays above the organs on your right side, taking minimal weight on itself. This means less tension after the last Shavasana pose in the yoga session. The pause on the right side allows your natural blood pressure to reach its potential homeostasis.
- Energy channels: Rolling on the right side keeps your “ida nadi” (one of the main channels of “prana”, which means “life force” corresponding to the cooling energy) active and helps to keep your body calm, while standing up in a sitting position. The left side of the body is your yin side. Lying on the right side allows you to continue breathing through your left nostril and continue the relaxing effects of the last Shavasana pose.
- Spiritual and ritual: In India it is considered auspicious to enter a holy place with your right foot. In many parts of the world we greet each other by extending our right hands. The right side represents the East, as the rising sun symbolizes the request for blessings from the Creator and bliss for the future.
In today’s tense world, more and more people are realizing the deep need to be alone with themselves. But not in isolation, as our reality has been lately, but far from the imposed noise. Although someone is in the form of music, he is still deeply damaging to our nervous system. Meditation, yoga and more time in nature and walking barefoot will return us to the feeling of well-being and peace and will land us.