Savasana, or Shavasana, is a powerful yoga pose that can bring healing to your body and mind. The word comes from the Sanskrit shava, which means corpse, so this is the Corpse pose. It’s usually performed at the end of a yoga session and is ideal for when you need total relaxation.
When doing Savasana, you withdraw your attention from the outer world and allow yourself to drop into inner stillness. This helps you surrender to a higher consciousness. The idea is to maintain a balance between relaxation and meditation. In other words, you’re not supposed to fall asleep!
Performing this meditation can reveal just how stressed and tense you are. It can be surprisingly difficult to lie still and allow everything to fall away. But it’s worth practising because this meditation can bring so many positive benefits. Savasana can alleviate fatigue, anxiety, asthma, constipation, diabetes, indigestion, and insomnia. It stimulates the blood circulation and improves general health and well-being.
- Allows you to let go and relax
- Provides an alternative for sitting meditation
- Rejuvenates the body and mind
- Enhances recovery from long or serious illnesses
If you’re pregnant, or have a respiratory illness or suffer from anxiety, practice with your head and chest raised on a bolster or folded blanket. You can place a pillow under your knees too, if that helps.
- Lie on a mat. Relax your arms at your sides with your palms up, and relax your fingers. Relax your legs and allow them drop gently to the sides, keeping your heels slightly apart.
- Breathe slowly and deeply and close your eyes. Allow a feeling of relaxation to spread through your body.
- Focus on your breathing and stay in this pose for at least 5 minutes.
- Keep your head straight and still. Relax your cheeks, jaw and mouth.
- As you relax, rest the outer edge of your spine on the floor and expand your chest to the sides. Allow your neck to dip to the floor and relax the muscles of your neck.
- Continue to focus on your breathing. Allow all your stress and tension to melt away.
- When you’re ready to end the session, bring your awareness back to your surroundings and open your eyes. Remember to sit up slowly and carefully and take your time getting up. Ease gently back into your day.
In Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, B.K.S. Iyengar explains the true purpose of this practice is to bring the body into unity:
“As your neck dips to the floor, you will feel a soothing sensation in the back of your brain. When this area of the brain relaxes, move on to the front of the brain. From the crown of the head, the energy should descend in a spiral action toward the bridge of the nose, and down to a point located at the sternum. When the energy reaches this point, the three layers and five sheaths that comprise your body come together and are integrated into a single harmonious whole. This is the ultimate aim of Savasana.”
Don’t expect to feel these results immediately – it will take a lot of practice and patience to bring yourself into harmony and wholeness.