Shavasana (Corpse Pose or Relaxation Pose)

By : Emma Laurence | : 26 September, 2020
Shavasana (Corpse Pose or Relaxation Pose)

Shavasana (Relaxation Pose)


Etymology and Origins of Shavasana

Shavasana is a Sanskrit word. The Sava means corpse, Asana is posture. It is also named as Mrtasana, Marta means dead, that is resting like a dead body. It is called Corpse Pose, or Relaxation Pose, or Sleeping Pose in English. Actually, it is not sleeping, it is resting on the bed looking above with legs and hands straight and completely relaxed, free, thoughtless. It is one of the most difficult Yoga positions. It is an Asana in Hatha Yoga and a modern yoga tradition. This Yoga connects the subconscious and conscious mind and moves them to the superconscious level. It makes your mind bond free.

This Asana is very often used for relaxation and rest at the end of a particular session, or at the end of a day’s exhaustion. This Yoga pose promotes the tranquillity of the mind. It has some variations with regard to the position of the legs and hands for relaxation.


Why is it termed as the most difficult Yoga?

Simply lying flat on the Yoga mat or bed is not the major objective of this Asana. The core idea is to remain thoughtless, making the mind free from any thinking, anxiety, tension, societal existence.

We have asked a simple question to thousands of disciples and students: what is the most difficult Yoga Asana? All except three replied that Shashangasana (Hare Pose), Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) and Shalbhasana (Locust Pose) are the most difficult yoga poses. We have also asked a reverse question to them: what is the easiest of all Yoga? All of them except three replied that Shavasana (Relaxation Pose) is the easiest.


What transpires such paradoxical responses regarding Shavasana?

All Yoga poses are after all some sort of exercise and body movement. But Shavasana is no exercise, no limb movement. It is absolute inertia on the bed with only inhaling and exhaling. Its sole objective is to make the mind free from worldly thinking, letting the mind fly like a free bird in the boundless sky without any thinking. All your tiredness and exhaustion from the hazards of daily life will vanish. It is the Yogic way of accumulating huge energy in body and mind without any leakage as if you are a corpse, dead body. If you are able to do this Yoga perfectly, you will accumulate huge kinetic energy in your mind’s storehouse. The moment you begin to think about your problems and anxieties of societal life while doing the Asana, the sole objective of Shavasana (Relaxation Pose) is completely nullified, quashed, crushed. This is why those who think that Shavasana is the easiest of all Yoga, they actually do not understand the inner meaning of this great Yoga. Therefore, they fail to do it properly. So, they cannot harvest its benefits.


Step by Step Instructions of Shavasana

  • Lie flat on your back.

  • Keep your hands and legs straight, fully relaxed, casual, no stiffness.

  • Keep your hands on both sides.

  • The gap between legs depends upon your choice of being comfortable. The same is true for the hands. You may follow the attached figure.

  • Go on inhaling and exhaling silently.

  • Make your mind absolutely free from any thoughts and ideas.

  • Unlearn who are you, where are you, what are you doing.

  • Stay in this position for only 15 minutes.

  • You may practice it after exertion in strenuous Yoga poses to gain freshness and balance.

  • You may also do it after returning from work so that your day begins in the evening anew.

  • If you cannot control your mind initially, you can concentrate on the mantra “AUM”, or you can imagine your favorite image of “Jesus Christ”, or “Gautam Buddha”, or “Krishna”, your little daughter, favorite flower, favorite mountain landscape. These are not impersonal.

  • Gradually you will be able to free your mind’s eye from all the above images and become just free, just so, detached, cool.

  • It is said that ancient Indian Yogis could free their souls from the body and travel anywhere while the physical body would remain motionless.


Benefits of Shavasana


Anatomical Focus and Disease Control

  • It quickly relieves your body from all strains, stresses and anxieties.

  • This Yoga, if mastered fully, will be a substitute of sleep.

  • It revitalizes your body and mind.

  • It derives energy from a divine source.

  • Students can reap more benefits from this Yoga and study till late at night and get up early.

  • If mastered well, students can remember the study materials before their exams.

  • Shavasana greatly helps control high Blood Pressure, Heart disease, Stiffness.

  • Ancient saints have correctly diagnosed that the Yogins doing this Asana achieve Yoga Nidra (Trance) and enter the realm of higher Consciousness, eventually Super-Consciousness.


Benefits for Girls & Women

  • Girls and women of lower-middle-class families in the developing world do not find any rest throughout the day due to monotonous daily household chores. This Yoga is their best friend.

  • Girl students can reap more benefits from this Yoga and study till late at night and get up early.

  • If mastered well, girl students can remember the study materials before their exams.

  • Most importantly, there are no restrictions for girls and women practicing this Yoga Trance during their Menstrual Period.


Image Source: Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

About the author:

Emma Laurence
Emma Laurence
Human Psychologist
She is an expert on sexual behavior and human psychology. She is an author par excellence...

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