Shavasana (shava=corpse asana=pose) can be the most difficult asana of your practice. Don’t underestimate the art of relaxation. Although it looks easy, has been called the most difficult of the asanas. The reason is that relaxation is harder than it looks. Not all asanas are for all of us. Even shavasana can be a challenging asana for someone. It is a fully conscious asana where we are being awake, yet completely relaxed. It is the asana where the body heals and repairs itself. It relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system. When the body is completely relaxed, awareness of the mind increases, developing pratyahara.
When we get to a final shavasana, the effort of the asana practice is over. Otherwise we can start with it or rest for a minute or two between asana practices. In Bikram Style it comes between the standing and seated series. Some traditions such as Sivananda yoga intersperse the asana between their sequences of high intensity asanas. The ability to move from intense activity to a state of complete inaction becomes interval training for our body’s energy. It helps our breath improve, stress hormones regulate, and brain activity restore to balanced states.
For a final shavasana after our practice instructions:
Lie flat on your back. Roll your hands behind on top of your head and stretch your body. With the next exhalation bring them next to your body and let them fall deep into the floor with your palms facing up. Now stretch the spine, lift your head and send it far from your shoulders bringing your chin to your chest. Move the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position, close your eyes and allow legs and feet to relax. Take one more long inhale through the nose and sigh out through the mouth. Relax your shoulders, arms, spine, legs. The head and spine should be in a straight line. Allow your head and your whole body to completely relax and stop all physical movement. Now see a little dot in the middle of your forehead and imagine a spiral starting from that dot, circulating where your third eye is located. Now you let your breath into a normal state and you are in shavasana. The corpse asana. In India they say when somebody dies : he left his body. Just notice with the next exhalation how soft you may become. When you inhale notice which part of your body your breath goes to. And when you exhale again notice how soft you become. With your inhalation notice if you feel the upper chest. The middle chest or the back. With your exhalation notice how soft you can be. Relaxing, creating space for your body to balance. Bring your awareness to your heart center. Imagine a green ball of light in your heart center. Seeing and feeling that green emerald light that surrounds your heart. With each breath see expanding this green emerald this green ball of light and with every exhalation notice how soft you become. When you inhale again feel this green light all over your chest. You might be feeling warmth, opening, expansion all around your chest.Welcome all sensations and emotions that are present in your body and mind right now. When you inhale next, feel surrounded by this green light all over your heart till you feel inside that green ball of light. When you exhale see how soft you may become. Inhaling expanding the magnetic field of the heart tuning you into the intuition and wisdom of the heart. Just allowing for synchronizations to take space between the mind and the heart, the emotions, the body. Start to feel the love and support deep in you that you have access to it always. Exhale become softer.
From this space ask yourself what is important for you in your life? What do you want to create with your experiences in your life?
Exhale feel soft and take a moment to observe your thoughts and emotions without judging them or trying to change them. When you inhale welcome sensations of joy and bliss and when you exhale next, feeling soft and light, bring your awareness back to the room, your hands and feet. Start moving them softly with your eyes closed. Send the right hand back, behind your head and make your arm a pillow for your head to rest and slowly turn your body to the right side, bringing your knees close to your chest. Take another moment to reflect on the journey you’ve just taken. Affirm how the feeling of pure being, or pure awareness, is always present as a deep, unchanging peace that underlies every changing circumstance. When you are ready bring your left hand in front of your chest, press the floor and with your eyes closed come to a sitting position. Inhale stretch your hands up and exhaling bring them in front of your heart. ॐ
A beautiful shavasana can offer a final lavender scented adjustment, candlelight, palo santo or sage, music, a guided meditation, a personal mantra or just silence.
To come out become aware of the body and surroundings and gently and smoothly release and come to sit crossed legs.