Shavasana is the most neglected and least understood among the asana. It is an asana of tremendous potential and great significance. Shavasana if understood properly, one can get the knack of Yoga and if practiced completely one can experience the highest state of Yoga. Let us explore what Shavasana has in store for us.
What is Shavasana
Whenever we are asked to perform Shavasana or if we have to do it ourselves, we take it for granted as if we have mastered this asana completely. This complacent attitude towards Shavasana is because of the fact that we are always preoccupied with activity of body and mind. That is why we prefer to do cultural asana because it involves some degree of movement of body and some activity of mind. Shavasana on the contrary does not demand any activity of body or mind and this is what yoga is quietening of body and mind towards no activity. ‘Shava’ means corpse and ‘asana’ is posture or body position. Thus, in Shavasana we have to be as motionless and without activity as that of a dead body. However in Shavasana we are not dead, just that the witness consciousness remains alive. If practiced properly we come out of Shavasana completely fresh, invigorated and relaxed.
Know What is Relaxation
Relaxation does not mean that we go to bed in night and wake up next morning after 6-8 hours and assuming we are relaxed and free from tension. In fact we don’t know what is relaxation and ordinary sleep is incapable of removing all physical, mental and emotional tensions. In order to relax completely all muscular, mental and emotional tensions must be released. One of the competencies that we gain out of yoga is to know how to be relaxed!
Yoga is More About Feeling and Less About Doing
Shavasana helps us to understand the nature of Yoga; which is more about ‘feeling’ and less about ‘doing’. Yoga is not physical culture as it has become today. It is non-competitive and process-oriented. The feeling part in yoga is more and doing part is less and this is highlighted in Shavasana. In Shavasana we lie down on our back with hands and legs apart. We do not hold any part of our body tight and whole body collapse towards the floor. Now we don’t involve into any kind of mental or physical activity. We just observe the body parts and relax. In Shavasana we are not even involved in the process of relaxation. There is complete LET-GO just like a dead body and that is Shavasana. The body and mind become one, and there is experience of inner silence.
Shavasana is a state of Vairagya or complete non-attachment. You are not attached to any sensation or feeling in body and mind. One is completely uninvolved in Shavasana which leads to the emergence of witness consciousness and one move close to meditation. Meditation in simple terms is total relaxation, because meditation is not something that we do, it just happens.
Shavasana is the most preferred position for Yoga nidra practice as it reduces sensory stimulation to minimum. In our Hatha Yoga TTC students master this art of relaxation through various relaxation techniques.
Benefits of Shavasana
- Relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system, alleviating nervous tension and fatigue syndrome.
- Remove physical, mental and emotional tension.
- Heals the body and cure long-term ailments.