The final meditation pose in a yoga practice is called Shavasana or savasana sometimes referred to as Corpse Pose (Shava - Corpse; Asana - Pose) — lying on your back, eyes closed, breathing deeply — its as easy as that..... or is it?
Many people who are new to yoga mistakenly assume Shavasana simply looks like a nap at the end of a yoga practice. However this simple-sounding pose is considered the easiest posture to perform and the most difficult to master.
Why is it then that many yoga students who can happily balance, bend, and twist through the rest of class struggle with just lying on the floor?
It’s because the purpose of shavasana is to learn to just be. It is the ultimate act of conscious surrender, engaging in mindful awareness without effort or exertion. Even though the body might be willing to surrender to the yoga mat the mind usually finds ways to distract us from complete relaxation. Thoughts such as "What will I make for dinner tonight" or "How much longer do I need to lie here".
It is normal for the mind to try to resist this deep relaxation. It takes practice and patience to surrender easily.
Benefits of Shavasana
- Increases body awareness
- Calms the mind
- Reduces stress and fatigue
- Lowers blood pressure
- Relieves headache pain
- Improves sleep
- Helps relieve mild depression
- Calms the nervous system
Shavasana also serves the point of ritual. It gives teachers the opportunity to guide students in relaxation, affirmation or simple, extraordinary peace. It allows the individual practitioner to give ceremony and sacredness to their yoga practice and to feel “the sweet spot” that so often results from our efforts in yoga.
Simple Steps to a Successful Shavasana
- Comfort is key. Stretch out on your mat and be sure you’re completely comfortable. Use bolsters, pillows, blankets, and cover your eyes with an eye pillow or towel. The more comfortable you are, the more you can relax. The more relaxed you are, the more easily you can surrender. The more open you are to surrendering, the more benefits you’ll receive.
- Scan for tension. Mentally run through all the parts of your body and try to make them heavier. Be on the lookout for tension hiding in the jaw, temples, shoulders, and hips because stress likes to accumulate in these areas.
- Check in. Some days will be easier than others, and that’s part of the practice. See if you can be still, at ease, and simply trust that the breath will carry you to the next moment. Watch for those peaceful moments of quiet between the thoughts. Over time, they’ll get longer, and you’ll find more inner quiet.
- Use Guided Meditation. Selecting the appropriate guided meditation can support and enhance your shavasana experience as you enjoy the comfort of being guided by someone else.
Check out our meditation track called "BE" This track is perfect for shavasana and at 6 minutes long, it fits nicely into any yoga practice.
Nicky & Angela