Shavasana, also known as savasana and corpse pose, is the pose that most people do at the end of a yoga routine. The pose is pretty simple: lay on your back, clear your head and stay still for a few minutes.
The pose is so integrated with yoga that a passerby might make the mistake that yoga is all about resting and relaxation. But shavasana is about more than just laying down – in fact, it can be one of the hardest poses in yoga.
Unseen to many, there are plenty of benefits to shavasana. While you’ve probably realized a few of them for yourself, there are other benefits that might surprise you!
Shavasana is best known as a relaxing pose, but not the same type of relaxation that you would have while watching TV or taking a nap.
While lying in shavasana, your goal should be to completely relax your mind and your body. This will help you meditate, clear your head and bring more awareness to the present.
It also helps to have nicer yoga gear during this pose. Relaxing is easier when you’re comfortable, so a nice mat and some cozy yoga clothes will help you reach peak relaxation.
One of the lesser-known benefits of shavasana is the restorative factor of the pose. You tend to move a lot during yoga, and switching from flowing and poses to walking off the mat and driving home is a sudden jerk. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want to go on a long run and then suddenly stop and sit down.
By spending time in shavasana, you give your body a chance to really take in the benefits of what you did before. Your body will get complete relaxation, and all the muscles and tendons will get to settle down.
Heal Your Body
The lower back is a major problem area for a lot of people. We tend to spend a lot of time sitting at desks all day, and this can take a major toll on the health and strength of the lower back.
When some people first start doing yoga, they notice that shavasana kind of hurts. You generally don’t lie flat on your back on the ground for an extended period of time, so your back might not be used to it. But do shavasana enough and you’ll notice that it’s actually a great release. Expose yourself at your own pace, though – you shouldn’t do anything that puts you in pain.
Improving Your Breathing
Breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga. However, we tend to get caught up focusing on other things like balance, how tired a certain part of the body is getting, how deep our stretch is, and, in the worst cases, we think about something entirely unrelated to yoga.
Shavasana will help you learn how to control your breathing. Since it’s a low-effort pose (or no-effort pose in most cases), you don’t have to spend time thinking about your balance, stretch or held pose. As you start to master your breathing in shavasana, you can begin to bring it to other parts of your practice.
One of the most beautiful parts of shavasana is that it brings us to the present. We can get so absorbed in work, relationships and life, and we begin to start thinking about the past and the future – but never the present.
The longer you stay in shavasana, the more aware you’ll become of what’s going on in your life at that very moment. You’ll feel stress slip away, and you’ll gain a better respect and confidence for yourself.