As a pose for the practice of relaxation, the yoga asana Shavasana has established itself for a long time, but few people know that something more mysterious, significant and valuable is hidden behind this reputation. However, first things first, and why run ahead when you can climb the summit up the stairs without rushing at full speed, jumping from one step to another. The target is visible from afar, and over time we will approach it.
So, for an ordinary erudite person, Shavasana is one of the asanas in yoga. We find the first mention of it in Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It is interesting to note that Shavasana is not a canonical asana, therefore it was not included in the list of 11 asanas described in the sutras of Patanjali, which subsequently formed the basis for the further development and transformation of hatha yoga as one of the branches of the philosophical and religious teaching of yoga.
Initially, yoga exercises included 7 asanas for flexibility and endurance and 4 postures for meditation. In the sutras of Patanjali it is said that 4 poses: Padmasana, Sukhasana, Siddhasana and Swastikasana are the most stable, therefore they are recommended to be used as the basis for the practice of meditation. It should also be noted that, if for the Russian practitioner of yoga Shavasan is primarily a pose for relaxation, that is, relaxation, then in other regions it is classified as the so-called “restoring” asanas.
In a sense, this classification seems most appropriate when it comes to Shavasana. Calling it a pose for relaxation, we to some extent downplay not only the importance of this asana, but also its function, because the implementation and results of Shavasana practice go far beyond the usual state of relaxation. Nevertheless, for beginners to practice yoga, it is perhaps easier to perceive Shavasana as a pose, by adopting which they can rest and relax.
So why in yoga clubs, in retreats and yoga seminars we often hear the definition of Shavasana as a pose for relaxation? Perhaps there is some truth to this? Yes, there is a considerable one. Practicing Shavasana, you can relax quite quickly and at the same time restore strength after practicing static and dynamic asanas. Therefore, Shavasana is done at the very end of classes in order to relieve tension, calm the body and bring it into a state of equilibrium.
A correctly drawn up training course should be built in such a way that the transition from one asana to another takes place on the principle of compensation. It also helps maintain a balance of energies in the body. Despite this, at the end of classes it is customary to perform Shavasana, because through the practice of this asana one can most fully recover from classes.
Shavasana posture: execution technique
Until now, we talked about the fact that Shavasana in yoga completes a set of exercises. It is part of the complex, but Shavasana is also often practiced as an independent asana for the practice of meditation.
When it is performed at the end of the yoga exercise cycle, the stay in Shavasan usually does not exceed 5-10 minutes, depending on how long the session lasted. If Shavasana acts as the basis for the practice of deep meditation, then the time spent in asana can be much longer: from 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The time of practicing Shavasana depends on the person, his experience and ability to deep meditation at the level of development at which he is.
The technique of performing Shavasana is so simple that it can be stated in a couple of sentences. And yet, behind the apparent simplicity of the technical implementation of the asana, many points are hidden, primarily of the psychological order, to which close attention should be paid. They are directly related to the characteristics of the practitioner's psyche, the experience of immersion in a relaxed state and the holding of a "borderline" state of consciousness - between sleep and wakefulness.
In order to correctly perform Shavasana, from the physiological side, you need to do the following:
- Lie on your back and take a neutral position.
- After this is done, it is necessary to carry out centering, i.e., try to carry out the mental rebuilding of the asana so that the right and left parts of the body are located as symmetrically as possible. This will help you relax better.
- Make sure your hands are resting relaxed at an angle of 45 degrees from your body and your palms are turned towards the sky.
- The heels should be located at a distance of about 5 cm from each other, but if you prefer a wider arrangement, then you can practice this way. The distance in this case is not a very important issue.
The issue of physical, bodily rebuilding of the asana is resolved. Now you need to do the psychological aspect. It is no less important than the physical. The psychological state in performing Shavasana is the key to the success of performing asana. A relaxed, comfortable lying position only helps the body go into a state of relaxation at other levels: mental and mental.
Staying in Shavasan, calm your thoughts and try to disconnect from external stimuli. Easier said than done, but patience and Shavasana will help you master the technique of deep relaxation. There are several psycho-physical tips on how to do this.
- Start your relaxation with the face area. Usually, the facial muscles are quite tense, which even if the other muscles of the body are relaxed fairly quickly, the facial muscles will not allow you to relax completely. Therefore, you need to feel the muscles of the forehead and allow them to relax.
- The same goes for the eye muscles. Let them rest too.
- Pay attention to the muscles of the nose and the muscles around the mouth. Release them.
- When all this is done, mentally go over all parts of the body. Feel them, and then let them relax as if they are “flowing” down or to the back of the body. In this case, it is not so important in which direction, the main thing is the mood and a certain fraction of the visualization of the process, which will help to plunge into a state of relaxation.
Usually the process of psycho-physical relaxation takes no more than a few minutes, but for beginner practitioners it may take much longer. Do not worry about this, because the ability to relax is a valuable skill that will help you practice meditation. Actually, staying in Shavasan is nothing more than the practice of lying meditation.
Many people prefer to meditate in a sitting position, in the lotus position. But this is not necessary, if you learn to control your psyche and can not go into sleep while doing Shavasana, then you can meditate and lying down.
The Benefits of Performing Shavasana at Bedtime
When to do shavasana? This question is asked by many beginners to practice this asana. It can be performed at any time of the day. As already mentioned, usually Shavasana complete the set of exercises in yoga. If you practice Shavasana as the basis for meditation, then the time shortly before going to bed will probably become the most convenient for you.
For beginners, the goal of immersion in a state of relaxation is in the first place and, based on this, it makes sense to perform Shavasana before going to bed, because, having relaxed well, after performing the asana you can quickly fall asleep. This is the practical benefit of doing Shavasana at bedtime.
If you practice Shavasana as the basis for meditation, then the effect is more likely to be the opposite. An advanced practitioner, plunged into a state of deep meditation, is awake when the organs of physical senses react to the events in the external world in the least possible way, and the body and psyche are half asleep, but the consciousness is awake, not being distracted by external stimuli. He is in a state of meditation.
Coming out of this state, a person can feel a surge of strength. You will definitely not be tempted to sleep after such a practice. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to perform Shavasana who owns the relaxation technique before going to bed, but they will not do this, because having experienced in practice at least a couple of times this state of the body and psyche, a person is able to draw conclusions and decide what time of day just fit to do meditation.
Although this is not the highest level of fulfillment of Shavasana, but with this kind of practice, a person is already able to evaluate a lot on his own. When you can stay in Shavasan for more than one hour, being between sleep and wakefulness, then, using modern language, you can say that you have reached certain heights in this practice and are on the way to achieving the state of Samadhi.
Now you understand that the posture of Shavasan in yoga is not only a tool for effective relaxation, but the key to understanding the secrets of your own psyche and being.
Shavasana: how to do a woman
The pose of Shavasan helps a woman to learn how to relax, as mentioned above. But why is relaxation so important for women? The female psyche is in many ways much more subtle. There is an opinion that women live by feelings, and this is true. Women perceive more shades of emotions, therefore, psychologically, they are more vulnerable.
Consequently, women should try to devote more time to practices devoted to bringing the whole organism into a state of equilibrium. Relaxation in Shavasan will be an ideal way to achieve mental and physical balance in the body.
In order to master the technique of the correct execution of the posture of Shavasana, you need to refer to the above description and start practicing. The most important thing is not to try to make Shavasana perfect. Ideal options do not exist, there is one that is right for you. Try to follow the instructions, but do not complicate them by excessive study of the details. With experience in practice, you will understand what is the point of performing this asana.
You will also decide for yourself which way to go: is it worth it to delve into the meditative aspect of Shavasana or you can limit yourself to its relaxing function. There is no right answer, because any person has his own goals, therefore, based on them, he will practice according to his convictions. It hardly makes sense to convince readers to act in any particular way. Use the information from this article, try to study the subject more deeply, and then you will come to the realization of which method will be right for you, which better matches your personality. Do not try to fit yourself into a template or concept. They are just schemes. Life is always much wider than abstractions and theories. Practice and study yourself. This is the key to the success of yoga practice.
- You need to lie comfortably on your back on a flat surface.
- Arrange hands along the body with palms up, legs slightly apart to the sides.
- The head and spine should be in one line.
- Next, you need to go through the entire body from the tips of the toes to the top of the head, relax.
- Particular attention should be paid to the muscles of the face, and especially the area around the eyes and mouth.
- It is necessary to concentrate on breathing, it should be even and calm, you need to breathe through your nose.
- Let each new exhalation help the body relax even deeper.
- You should evenly pay attention to the whole body and breathing.
- The way out of Shavasana should be carried out carefully and gently: first you need to slowly move your fingers and toes, stretch slowly, take a deep, even breath and open your eyes calmly and gently while exhaling.
- Then you need to turn on your right side, inhale and exhale calmly several times, slowly sit down or stand up.
Sometimes during the execution of Shavasana you can see short dreams, different images and pictures that float to the surface of consciousness - this is normal. It is believed that this is a process of emotional discharge. Continue to focus on relaxing the body and breathing, as at this time the energy accumulated during the practice begins to be evenly distributed throughout your body.
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It is important to allow your internal energy to be absorbed into every cell in the body. After 10-15 minutes of doing Shavasana, or after complete relaxation, when you feel how a stream of heat has spread throughout your body, you can gradually return and wake up.
This asana can help improve emotional state, rest and relax after exertion, work day or exerciseeven if you are not a practitioner of yoga.
And among the useful properties of Shavasana, the following can be noted:
- positive effects on posture
- improved nutrition of the spine and back muscles,
- relaxation of tension and reduction of excessive weakness of the back muscles,
- pressure normalization
- increased energy flow
- improving heart function
- body relaxation
- increasing awareness and gaining a state of inner harmony,
- stress management
- help in getting rid of insomnia,
- distraction from domestic problems.
Shavasana has proven itself in relieving the psychosomatic causes of disease. For example, it helps in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, neurosis, anxiety, arterial hypertension, etc. It contributes to the so-called "pratyahara," that is, the translation of attention from external events and its focus on its own internal processes.
As you know, our brain is so arranged that a good rest helps to increase its functionality and productivity, so the effect of Shavasana is often compared to rebooting a computer.
Shavasana or the dead man’s pose helps to fill the senses of peace, peace and harmony, stop the race and return to the present moment.
Listen to online music and video
You can perform Shavasana accompanied by a voice that will lead you to complete relaxation. You can download the video and practice the pose. Here is one of the most relaxing options (yoga nidra):
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Another magical option (The best classic Shavasana) which you can listen online and relax.
Video without music with voice:
Prepare everything you need in advance. In the cold season, it is better to use three blankets - one to lay on the floor, the other to put under your head, and the third to cover. It is not recommended to include relaxing music, as this will be an extra source of noise and can be distracting. The main thing in Shavasan is not only deep relaxation, but also the presence of the maximum in the present moment, here and now.
Reference! Shavasana is a passive practice, so we recommend that you additionally warm yourself and put on socks and a sweater.
It can be difficult for active and very emotional people to relax their heads, so it is recommended to wear a blindfold. The bandage can be purchased at yoga shops, or use something replacing them, a scarf, a cotton belt or an elastic bandage.
Having closed your eyes, try to become, as it were, an outside observer of your thoughts and processes taking place in your body. Often at the first stages the point between the eyebrows, the eyelids and the face begins to strain, but the discomfort quickly disappears if your attention is constantly directed inward.
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Before proceeding to the technique, it is necessary to properly prepare the room, choose comfortable clothes and a rug. The degree of physical and mental relaxation depends on the preliminary stage. In the right environment, you will quickly master the skills of shavasana, after which the external conditions will no longer affect the ability to relax.
Preparation for shavasana:
- It is advisable to conduct classes in the same place, the sequence of actions in the technique should be the same. This creates a certain stereotype that helps to quickly relax and achieve deep relaxation.
The room must be ventilated. If possible, eliminate extraneous sounds. Silence helps to effectively relax and not be distracted by all kinds of sounds.
Master the technique on the floor. Classes on a soft sofa or bed mattress will not lead to complete relaxation, cause drowsiness, reduce the state of awareness of actions. Remember, shavasana helps to achieve deep relaxation, but while maintaining a state of awareness.
Lay a thick, low-pile rug, hard plaid, or yoga mat on the floor. Во время позы должно быть удобно, но обязательно ощущение давления пола на выступающие части тела. It is important.
При выполнении шавасаны не рекомендуют использовать подушку под голову. Для новичков делают исключения. При освоении техники вы можете подложить под голову и плечи плоскую твердую подушку, в крайнем случае – валики под поясницу и подколенные ямки. In the first lessons, this will allow you not to be distracted by muscle strain in the supine position on a hard floor.
Performing the shavasana technique
Dead posture is a position on the back. Legs apart, approximately shoulder width apart. Heels pressed to the floor, feet turned to the sides. The knee joints can be slightly bent. Hands lie at a convenient distance from the body with your palms up, fingers bent. The head should be on the same axis with the body, face up. It is allowed to turn your head slightly to the side. The lower jaw is relaxed, the teeth are open. In this case, the mouth should be closed. If you feel that you are frowning, run a palm across your forehead to relax your facial muscles.
Once you have taken a pose, you can begin to perform the technique. Make sure you lie correctly. Parts of the body should not be in contact with each other - hands with the torso, finger with the next toe, left foot with the right foot. Give freedom to every part of your body, be sure to relax your face. Close your eyes, but do not try to forcefully close closed eyelids.
The shavasana technique consists of 2 stages. Let's consider each of them.
Stage 1 - relaxation
Mentally concentrate on every part of your body and internal organ in order to relax them. Start with the toes, then move on to the feet, knees, hips, first left and then right legs. After relax the muscles of the perineum, buttocks, pelvic organs. Go to the lower back and stomach, mentally relax the abdominal organs, one after the other. Then look inward at the chest and lungs.
Switch to the fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders of the left hand, then the right. Relax your neck, face muscles, eyeballs. Stop on each part of the body until you achieve relaxation. The sequence of relaxation can be changed as you wish, but the algorithm should be constant with each meditation.
At the end of stage 1, try to distract from the parts of the body and imagine how your whole body relaxes. Imagine the body as one, and it is completely relaxed. At the beginning of meditation, the arms, legs, torso, head become heavy, as if immersed in the floor. You cannot control them; they exist without your consciousness.
Stage 2 - immersion
Imagine a void before your eyes shut. Mentally expand the space. Let it envelop and swallow your body. Now each part of it gains lightness and weightlessness. It’s like you are floating in the air. You are well and pleased.
Now switch consciousness to breath. Recognize and feel every breath in and out. Breathe as if for the first time in your life. At this stage, thoughts completely leave you, a “void” appears in the head, the mind exists separately from the body. An unusual and unknown early state of lightness, happiness, and inner harmony arises.
Do not worry if you do not immediately get physical and mental relaxation. Experience comes with time. No one was able to master the technique immediately. First you will have the skills of physical relaxation, then the ability to relax the mind and the ability to eliminate emotions.
At first, thoughts will still come to you. Do not try to suppress them with an effort of will. It is much more efficient to let them through yourself without giving an emotional touch. Convince yourself that they are not important to you, let them go. Look at them from the side and continue to be in shavasana, consistently follow the stages of relaxation.
Every day, meditation and relaxation skills will bring you true pleasure and joy from life.
Over time, you will learn to be in shavasana, not only at home in complete silence, lying on the floor. You can relax while sitting and even standing, in any situation and at any time. Shavasana helps to learn to relax at any time when external conditions or internal tension require it.
Learn to relax and you will become healthy and happy!
Good luck in learning shavasana.
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Technique of Shavasana
Close your eyes, tighten your whole body (for contrast), and then relax it. At the same time, the head can bend to the right or left, hands can be freely folded, palms up, socks and heels of the legs will part.
Mentally control complete relaxation, from the toes to the smallest muscles on the face and head. It is necessary to mentally state this relaxation in the following sequence:
- “My muscles of the fingers of the left foot are relaxed,” and so on, also suggesting that the muscles of the left foot, left lower leg, left thigh, entire left leg,
- toes of the right foot, right foot, right lower leg, right thigh, entire right leg,
- both legs
- fingers of the right hand (for left-handed people you need to start with the left hand), the right hand, the right forearm, the right shoulder, the entire right hand,
- fingers of the left hand, left hand, left forearm, left shoulder, entire left hand,
- both arms and legs,
- buttocks, lower back, back (including shoulder blades),
- abdomen, chest, shoulder girdle,
- whole body, arms and legs, neck, chin, around the mouth, cheeks, wings of the nose, around the eyes, forehead, crown, nape, ears.
Once again, mentally “run through” in the same sequence. Then mentally relax the internal organs of the pelvis, abdomen, chest, throat, spinal cord and brain, and all the nerves coming out of the spinal cord and brain. Your whole body “through and through” will be relaxed.
With proper relaxation, you will feel warmth in the arms and legs, as the vessels expand and there is a plentiful flow of blood to the limbs.
Over time, when you learn to relax well, you won’t need to “go through” the body in such detail, it will be enough to parallel relaxation of the right arm and right leg, left arm and left leg, front and back surfaces of the body, neck and head, from bottom to top , then internal organs, as described above.
At the end of stage I, focus your attention on the area of the heart, behind the sternum.
The development of stage I takes from 1-2 weeks to several months, depending on the individual characteristics of the human psyche.
After you have learned to perform the exercises of this stage well, proceed to the next stage.
While maintaining body relaxation and not opening your eyes, imagine a clear, blue cloudless sky.
At first it will seem complicated, the image will elude you, but after a proper training for several weeks the difficulties will disappear (for a better working out of this stage, try to remember the image of the blue sky, looking into the bottomless blue, then, closing your eyes, try to reproduce it in your memory, and so several times).
At the end of stage II, pay attention to the heart.
When stage II is well mastered, proceed to the last stage.
Continuing to imagine the blue cloudless sky, evoke the feeling of flying, imagining yourself as a soaring bird. You must stop feeling your body and go into a state of weightlessness. Experienced yogis in this state can imagine the terrestrial landscape below and the blue sky around them and above. In the state of flight, it is advisable to be at least 5 minutes, concentrating on the area of the heart.
Then take a breath, raise your hands up and stretch your whole body, as after a dream, then slowly sit down, open your eyes and calmly stand up. It is impossible to leave this pose sharply. The duration of all 3 stages is 5-10 minutes, it depends on the needs, ability to relax and create mental images and on the reserve of available time. Breathing at all stages is arbitrary, rare, shallow through the nose with natural pauses after exhalation.
In addition to the feeling of relaxation and freshness received from this pose, a person gets rid of nervousness, mental clamps, and chronic stress.
“Shavasana” helps in the treatment of hypertension, sleep disorders (instead of daytime sleep, it is always better to do this exercise), promotes longevity.