Shavasana – Corpse Pose
Shavasana - Corpse pose (also known as Mritasana - Death pose)
Sanskrit: Shava - corpse; Asana - pose
This pose looks like a dead body, hence the name. This asana seems very simple, but at the same time, we can regard it as the hardest pose of all. You have to completely relax - body and mind. We practice Shavasana at the end of a yoga class to support the healing process and to allow the body and mind to integrate the newly learned things. Often, it is also practiced within a sequence after a very exhausting pose. Shavasana is refreshing and reviving.
- Level: Beginner
- Duration: 1-2 minutes during a sequence, 10-20 minutes at the end of a sequence
- Repetition: none
- Stretches: shoulders, hips, thighs, ribcage, ankles, triceps
- Strengthens: back, rib cage
- Chakra: Ajna Chakra (third eye)
Benefits of Shavasana
♥ Relaxes the entire psycho-physiological system
♥ Strengthens the body perception
♥ Promotes Pratyahara (disciplining the senses)
Contraindications of Shavasana
♦ Shavasana is absolutely safe and can be practiced by anyone.
Instructions for Shavasana
- Lie flat on your back. Make sure you do not get disturbed during Shavasana.
- Close your eyes
- Place your legs with a little distance apart to make it as comfortable as possible for you. Your legs are completely relaxed and your toes can lean outward.
- Your arms are next to your body but do not touch it. Palms are directed upwards and are open.
- Now bring your attention to every area of your body and relax it. Start with your toes. Breathe calmly and deeply. Bring your body into a state of deep relaxation. You should not fall asleep though.
- Breathe slowly, calmly and deeply. You inhale and bring fresh energy into the body. You exhale and calm your body and mind. Focus completely on your body and forget about all the other tasks that are waiting for you. Let go and relax completely.
- After about 10-20 minutes, when your body feels relaxed and refreshed, you roll over to one side. Your eyes are still closed. Stay on the side for a minute, stretch and then sit up.
- Breathe in and out a few times and become aware of your surroundings before opening your eyes again.
The science behind Shavasana
Shavasana allows a deep relaxation of body and mind. This is as important and fundamental as exercise and a balanced diet. Yoga equips the nervous system with new neuromuscular information. The corpse pose gives your body and minds the possibility to integrate this new information before we again devote ourselves to our everyday life. Without Shavasana at the end of a yoga class, we can also skip the whole class. Without this integrative phase, in the end, we lose all that our body and mind have learned during the class. For that reason, Shavasana is often referred to as the most important asana.
Note: Yoga beginners should first learn all yoga practices from a competent teacher and then practice alone.