Shavasana : all about this posture
SHAVASANA: have you ever heard of it? If you have experience in yoga, you most likely do! Also known as the ultimate relaxation posture, it should be done systematically at the end of each yoga session. Contrary to popular belief, this is one of the most difficult postures to master and one of the most important.
However, be careful, this posture should not be done by a pregnant woman ! Indeed, it is a long posture which is practiced on the back. This induces a compression of the vena cava nerve and therefore endangers the baby.
A/ The origins of Shavasana
The oldest mention to this posture comes from a treatise of Yogi Svatmarama, “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” written in the 15th century.
Shavasana is a term coming from an ancient language spoken in Indian countries such as India or Nepal, Sanskrit. Pronounced ” Savasana ” because of its silent “h”, it is often written like that in the West. In this article, we will alternate between the two possible writings.
This term is a contraction of the Sanskrit words “shava”, meaning ” corpse “, and “asana”, which can be translated as ” posture “. Shavasana is literally ” the posture of the corpse “.
B/ The idea behind this posture
The corpse pose is also sometimes called “ Mrtasana “, which means ” the posture of the dead “.
The symbolism behind Savasana is therefore intimately linked to the theme of death, but the approach to this subject in Indian culture is very different from the Western approach. In India, death is not the end of an existence. Although the body stops living, the spirit endures.
Savasana is therefore a posture whose initial objective is to place oneself in a situation of ” physical death “, in order to better understand and apprehend this phenomenon. This translates into a total immobility of the body, here only the vital energy (or chakra) remains.
In the West, the realization of the corpse pose is more motivated by a meditation and relaxation objective. It usually closes the yoga classes in order to free the mind of its practitioners, it is an important step of the training.
C/ Scientific approach of shavasana
How does Savasana work at the anatomical level? How can a posture that requires no movement provide so many benefits? These are interesting questions that we will now try to answer.
To do this, it is important to explain how the brain is made up. Indeed, the latter is divided into two hemispheres, sympathetic and parasympathetic, preparing respectively for activity and rest. Since life in society is stressful and requires the continuous processing of a multitude of information, the parasympathetic hemisphere tends to predominate.
Savasana allows to regulate this by activating the parasympathetic hemisphere, thus inducing relaxation.
The benefits of Shavasana are numerous, and of two kinds. They can be physical or psychological.
A/ The physical benefits of shavasasna
Shavasana acts on the body level, in fact this posture allows :
Relaxing your muscles
Facilitate the circulation of vital energy in the body
Reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches
Calm the entire nervous system
Better control of your breathing
B/ The psychological benefits of shavasana
It also acts on the mind, indeed, Shavasana allows :
Free your mind by stopping thinking
Free yourself from stress and anxiety
Improve your concentration
A/ Upstream preparation
In practice, during a yoga class, it is frequent that this posture is considered by many as being a boring posturee and that this stage of the course is interpreted as a nap for many. Nap time will allow them to let their imagination run free and dream. Many people find it strange that yoga teachers devote such an important and regular part of their training to this position.
It’s actually much more complex than that, a good execution of Shavasana implies to think of nothing, in order to focus on the mind. Emptying oneself so that no thought arises requires regular practice and real involvement, one must really try not to think of anything, except one’s breathing. In general, a good realization of Shavasana requires 3 weeks of practice in order to properly exercise this meditation posture.
B/ Steps to follow to achieve savasana
Context: your yoga class is about to end, your yoga mat is unfolded (there is no question of doing this yoga position on the floor)
Follow the steps below:
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your chin slightly tilted towards your chest
- Spread your arms slightly
- Spread your legs, feet should be at the ends of the mat and toes should fall slightly to the sides
- Tilt your palms towards the sky
- Close your eyes
Shavasana really starts now, during the posture:
- Relaxing your body’s muscles
- Focus on your breathing
- Make your breathing deeper and deeper as time goes on.
- If thoughts come to you, let them pass, forcing yourself to think of nothing is counterproductive. If you are having trouble, think about your breathing.
- Try to feel every part of your body, from top to bottom and then from bottom to top, as if you were scanning yourself
When 20 minutes have passed, the yoga session is not completely finished, follow the following steps to get out of savasana, you should absolutely not come out of this state of total rest suddenly!
- Bring your knees to your chest
- Gently roll over to your right side
- Take a few long breaths
- When you feel ready, slowly move into a sitting position
- Stay in this position for a few seconds
- Open your eyes slowly
- Stand up
You have just performed Shavasana correctly! With a regular practice, your yoga sessions will be easier and more relaxing.
Be careful though, it is possible during the corpse pose that you will be overwhelmed by your emotions. This natural reaction to your self-introspection is normal and allows you to vent some emotions, but if it becomes unpleasant, open your eyes.
Here is a list of very useful material to practice savasana.
A/ A comfortable yoga mat
Essential accessory for almost all yoga postures but especially Shavasana, Yogom offers different types of yoga mats depending on what you are looking for. The two carpets we propose here have the common characteristic of being extra large, without being cumbersome. They are indeed rollable or foldable and easily transportable thanks to the carrying strap provided with!
If you are looking for a versatile mat, to perform shavasana but also many other postures, we will direct you to the Performance mat.
At the same time efficient, ecological and durable ! It can be used on all types of floors, with or without basketball. Made of natural rubber and textile microfiber, it has excellent stability on the ground.
For a more comfortable carpet, choose the ecological wool carpet of the Douceur range from Yogom!
In addition to its unmatched comfort, it is made of wool in Europe and is Oeko-Tex certified, which means it is not harmful to the skin and health.
B/ The Yogom wool bolster
Cylindrical cushion, the wool bolster from YOGOM is extremely comfortable and a must-have for relaxation. It is ideal for the practice of Shavasana, it is then generally placed under the knees or under the spine!
This object allows, in addition to its main function which is to relax its user, to find energy and facilitate digestion, while strengthening the metabolism.
Allowing you to adjust your position during yoga exercises without injuring yourself, it is perfectly adapted to this practice. It is also easily transportable and washable.
For people who want to do their own padding, YOGOM also offers a bolster cover to fill (with unused clothes for example).
C/ YOGOM support bricks
Acting as an extension of your arms or as a support for your body, having yoga bricks is very useful to practice serenely. YOGOM offers cork or 100% EVA bricks (recyclable material) by the unit or in batches of 2 at a discount.
Although for shavasana you only need one brick, to be placed behind the head to support it, it is strongly recommended to get 2 bricks, as the parts of the body supported by them usually come in pairs (arms, knees…etc) for other postures such as Sirsasana .
D/ The YOGOM yoga and meditation blanket
During the posture of the corpse, the body cools naturally. To compensate for this, it may be appropriate to have a cover in order not to be disturbed during your self-introspection. The YOGOM catalog contains an extremely soft and comfortable blanket that will allow you to practice Shavasana as serenely as possible
100% natural and made of merino wool, it is also certified by the OEKO-TEX standard , and is therefore not harmful to the skin and health. It is produced in Europe and is washable!
Shavasana (or savasana), literally ” corpse pose ” in Sanskrit, is a yoga posture that is much more demanding than it seems. In fact, it takes 3 weeks of practice to start doing it properly. This posture on the back was originally conceived in India with the aim of better apprehending death (by learning to know one’s spirit), but its use is now motivated by a desire to relax, and to benefit from its many other benefits, both physical and psychological. Shavasana is a posture that requires adapted equipment, which you can find on the YOGOM website!
Did this article interest you? Find here a new article on the basic postures !
Discover the Yogom’s Youtube channel with a hundred of yoga classes offered that will almost all end with the famous Savasana!