Guest Author - Tracy Webb
Shavasan is one of the most important asana in yoga practice. The complete relaxation it brings assists with integrating your practice within the body, giving you optimum results from exercising.
Shavasan does not look like much, and many joke it is their favorite pose since it is so easy. I hear many times of people falling asleep during Shavasan. With some even snoring during the session!
It looks deceptive. Shavasan is one of the most difficult asana to perform correctly. To completely relax the mind and body, while staying focused and alert, can be challenging.
Performing Shavasan correctly brings harmony into the body and mind. It is the best way to take complete rest, as energy from strong muscles is directed to the fatigued ones. All stress is taken off the body’s organs and energy is restored. It has a rejuvenating effect on the whole body.
Practicing Shavasan regularly helps to lower blood pressure, regulate the respirator system, and bring balance between the mind and body. It is a lovely asana and should be practiced at the end of other asana for maximum benefit.
Shavasan is broken down into four stages comprising relaxation and the breath.
The First Stage
Lay on the floor with eyes closed let the feet naturally fall to the side, keep your hands facing upwards and slightly away from the body. Keep the body straight with all areas in contact with the floor.
• Slowly shake the feet and toes, and let them relax.
• Shake the shoulders which will relax the trunk.
• Shake the neck gently to relax the nerves of the brain.
• Feel every area of your body relax.
You may have your own way of relaxing the body, for example; tense and release each area all the way up the body starting from the feet. Do whatever you are most comfortable with.
Now you are feeling totally relaxed, start to normalize your breathing. Feel the effect on the stomach and lungs. Let the stomach fill with air, filling up the body from lower, to middle to lungs. While exhaling empty the lungs first, then the middle torso, then the lower portion of the abdomen.
During this phase of breathing, all tension will be expelled from the body, and should feel pleasant and natural.
Start to direct your attention inward, and breathe deeply into the body. Breathe into each organ and relax each one on the out breath. Start at the top and work your way down to the feet. This helps you to stay focused and alert during relaxation.
Hold your attention on the body, breath and mind. Relax into the posture, and let your-self completely relax. If your mind wanders just bring it back to the breath.
To come out of Shavasan, gently rock your hands, feet and head from side to side. Open your eyes when ready and come up to sitting in your own time.
By practicing Shavasan in this way, you will start to strengthen your mind, relax quicker and easier than previously, and experience a reduction in stress.