Corpse
ŚAVĀSANA (शवासन)
(suh-VAAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Śava’= corpse, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Shavasana
Final Relaxation Pose
Relaxation Pose
Death Pose (Mrtasana)

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Supine / Restorative

1. Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana), seated with your legs extended straight. Make sure to bring your shoulder blades back, so that your shoulders are under your ears and your spine is extended upward.
2. Lay back into supine position, laying comfortably on your back with your eyes closed. Take slow, deep breaths, and relax into the pose.
3. Let your arms rest at your sides, away from the body, with your palms facing up toward the sky with their natural curve. Relax your shoulders and jaw as you soften the neck and face. Sink into the ground, letting the shoulder blades rest flat, and your thighs relax.
4. Let your feet gently fall open and relax. Let go of your breath and breathe naturally and smoothly.
5. Start from the crown of your head and relax each muscle as you slowly go down your body. Focus on relaxing each muscle as you move down the body to the tip of your toes.
6. Now focus on your breath. Continue to let the tension fall away. (You can also have students focus on a poem or reading you read before the posture, on a chakra, or a calming image like the ocean or forest).
7. Continue relaxing for about 5-15 minutes. When ready, start to wiggle the toes and fingers. Stretch your legs and then stretch your arms overhead. Roll onto your side.
8. When you are ready, come to a seated position.

Common Adjustments
• Student is uncomfortable (cold, back pain, etc.)
• Falling asleep
• Shoulders tense, up by the ears or turned in
• Feet and ankles turned in

Modifications
• For students with lower back pain or discomfort, have them either place a blanket or bolster under the lower back or knees. They can also bend the knees so that the feet are flat on the floor in a comfortable position. Make sure that they are not too close to the buttock so that the leg muscles can relax.
• For students with neck pain and/or discomfort, trouble breathing, experience anxiety, have acid reflux or are pregnant, you can place a blanket, bolster, or pillow under the neck and/or shoulders.
• To assist students through this pose, and enhance their experience, you can dim the lights, offer blankets, eye pillows, and/or aromatherapy, light candles or play relaxing music.

Counter Poses
• Reverse Corpse (Advasana)

Anatomy
• Full body extension / relaxation

Benefits
• Rejuvenates the mind, body, and spirit, relaxing the entire body and helps you reconnect with yourself.
• Relieves stress, anxiety, mild depression, tension, and fatigue. It is also believed to help with headaches / migraines, pain relief, and insomnia and lower high blood pressure.
• Calms the nervous system and assists the immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular system.
• Brings breath awareness, as well as calms and centers the mind, and increases focus and energy.
• Great to relax the body after an intense asana practice. Due to this state of relaxation, this posture is best done at the end of a class to get the full benefit of this pose. This can also help with meditation.

Contraindications
1. Students with high acidity or Acid Reflux may find it difficult to lay on their back.
2. Students with back injury or discomfort should use a modification for this pose.
3. Pregnant students in the third trimester or later should avoid this pose unless they use a modification and have guidance and support.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.
Chakra SevenCrown or Sahasrara (Thousandfold) Chakra. This is the understanding and consciousness chakra. Its goals are wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual connection. Its location is the top of the head.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – Restorative Postures as “Shavasana – Corpse Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 11 video “Shavasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew, this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – SUPINE POSES as “SAVASANA – Corpse Pose”.

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