Shavasana is one of the most important parts of the yoga practice which helps us relax the body and the mind. Many yoga teachers consider Shavasana as the most important posture since it helps us achieve the main goal of yoga - the realization that we are part of something that is much bigger than the individual selves.
Shavasana teaches us a conscious relaxation, and then, how to stay relaxed as long as possible. When we practice Shavasana, we see how difficult it is for us to relax: even if we manage to completely relax the body, our thoughts and emotions rise up and start to distract us. But only when we are fully aware of our “internal dialogue”, we are able to let thoughts and emotions go, clear our mind, and achieve balance.
Here are a few steps to practice Shavasana correctly:
1. To practice Shavasana the most effectively, it is recommended first to do a series of asanas so that your body feels tense. The stronger the tension in the asanas practice is, the deeper the relaxation in Shavasana will be.
2. Lie on your back, close your eyes, palms are turned towards the sky. And start to relax your body. Mentally scan the parts of our body from the bottom up, releasing tension from them with each exhalation. A deeper state of relaxation can be achieved by visualizing your body parts becoming heavy and pressing on the floor.
3. When the body is finally relaxed, you might start feeling more clearly the flow of your thoughts - it is time to relax your mind. Notice your thoughts and emotions, acknowledge them, and let them go. To let go means to let be. Trust yourself, do not forbid yourself to think about something, do not judge yourself, and do not rush. You will gradually learn how to relax your mind with the Shavasana practice.
4. During Shavasana you can also concentrate on breathing: on the chill of the air on inhalation and warmth on exhalation. Breathe naturally and evenly without controlling your breathing - just noticing.
5. When you feel it is time to get out of Shavasana, do it carefully and gradually: wiggle your fingers, stretch, take a deep breath. Do not rush to get up, lie down a little, turn on your side, and, leaning on your bent arm, move to a sitting position.
You can practice Shavasana at the end of your yoga practice or as a stand-alone asana for relaxation and recovery, or for meditation.
You cannot achieve complete relaxation in a minute or two. The best time for Shavasana starts at 7 minutes. But if you have plenty of time, then set the timer for 15-20 minutes or even half an hour. Then the benefits of Shavasana will be maximum.
Stay healthy and happy!