Savasna or Corpse Pose
After the exertions of the practice, Shavasana allows the body a chance to regroup and reset itself. After a balanced practice, the entire body will have been stretched, contracted, twisted and inverted. These means that even the deepest muscles will have the opportunity to let go and shed their regular habits, if only for a few minutes.
Furthermore, the physiological benefits of deep relaxation are numerous and include (credited to artandscienceofyoga)
• a decrease in heart rate and the rate of respiration.
- • a decrease in blood pressure.
- • a decrease in muscle tension.
- • a decrease in metabolic rate and the consumption of oxygen.
- • a reduction in general anxiety.
- • a reduction in the number and frequency of panic attacks.
- • an increase in energy levels and in general productivity.
- • an improvement in concentration and in memory.
- • an increase in focus.
- • a decrease in fatigue, coupled with deeper and sounder sleep.
An intelligent yoga practice will furnish the nervous system with a host of new neuromuscular information. Shavasana gives the nervous system a chance to integrate that in what can be thought of as a brief pause before it is forced once again to deal with all the usual stresses of daily life.
After so much time being bound to the actions of the body, the practitioner’s awareness is hopefully turned inwards and purified of sensory distraction. Shavasana then becomes the beginning of deeper, meditative yogic practices. In state of sensory withdrawal it becomes easier to be aware of the breath and of the state of the mind itself. Though not the best position for prolonged meditative contemplation – the reclined position dulls the mind too much for the kind of discernment necessary to achieve deeper meditative states, this can be a successful introductory practice for those not yet ready for formal meditation.
The yoga practice is a form of ritual. Regardless of the style of yoga, most classes follow the same pattern. It begins with a short opening period where the practitioner gathers him or herself up, turning inwards, away from the mundane world and setting an intention for the practice. Following that comes the practice itself. And to end there comes an integration phase where the effects of the practice are allowed to take hold and penetrate deep into the self of the practitioner. Shavasana is the primary vehicle of that process.