Savasana (also known as corpse pose or mrtasana), sometimes written shivasana or shavasana, serves many purposes: spiritual, physical, and philosophical. It is part of the practice of Yoga Nidra, one of the oldest forms of meditation.
Furthermore, it is a position commonly practiced towards the end of a yoga class because it is a method for mental and physical relaxation. This practice gradually relaxes one body part at a time, one thought at a time, and one muscle at a time.
While this asana requires no physical effort, it is considered one of the most difficult yoga poses to master, because stilling the mind, yet important for people, is seemingly impossible. Learning to access that present state of consciousness in all activities is the quintessence to bringing happiness into your life.
In addition, that feeling of clarity, connection, lucidity, all-knowingness, joy, or love may arise from this state of awareness.
Benefits of Practicing Savasana:
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- as your mind and body relax, your blood pressure drops, and this can lead to a considerable reduction in the number of panic attacks;
- grounds the body and reduces the imbalance of the air element;
- stimulates the ability to concentrate and improves memory;
- decreases the consumption of oxygen and the metabolic rate;
- gives the heart a rest by slowing the heart rate;
- decreases muscle tension;
- fewer headaches and migraines;
- helps you make better decisions;
- relieves the pain of those suffering from asthma, neurological disorders, digestive problems, or type 2 diabetes mellitus;
- reduces the risk of obesity;
- increases energy levels;
- increases your reaction times;
- improves the quality of sleep by balancing melatonin and serotonin, two important hormones that regulate appetite, sleep, and mood.
How To Practice The Corpse Pose
Lay down on your back on a yoga mat or a blanket. You can have a small blanket folded to support the neck and head just high enough to keep the forehead a little higher than the chin. Also, make sure you are comfortable and warm.
Place your arms close to your body, but a little spread apart with your palms open, facing upward and the fingers curled up naturally.
Close your eye and relax. Stay quiet and still and be aware of your body. Stay in the present moment. Breathing from your diaphragm helps your physical body be more energized and your mind relaxed. If your mind wanders (and will definitely do), you can bring your awareness to your breath but try to just observe it, not deepen it.
Stay in this asana for five minutes for every 25 minutes of yoga practice.
When coming out of this position, roll to your right side and rest there for a moment and take a few deep breaths to regain physical awareness of your legs and arms, and then gently move your body.
It is recommended not to stay too long in this asana as the mind may become dull and you can even fall asleep if you are tired. On the other hand, this position is almost useless if you stay too little time or just spend the time mind wandering.
It is crucial that the body is placed in a neutral position, to induce comfort and relaxation. Plus, turn off all electronic devices (especially mobile phones) prior to starting this pose.
While practicing this position, if you feel sleepy or drowsy, you can breathe a bit deeper and faster.
During this asana, be aware of your body, of the stillness in the body and remain with this experience.
When practiced at the end of a yoga session, it is traditionally followed by a short seated meditation to re-integrate the body-mind-spirit back into the world.
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If you have a back injury, practice this asana with your knees bent and your feet on the floor If you are pregnant, especially in the third trimester, it might be a good idea to rest your chest and head on a bolster for increased comfort.
Also, avoid this pose if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, a chronic condition where acid from the stomach comes up into the esophagus.