The Corpse Pose
|The Sanskrit word shava means corpse hence this is the Corpse. The shava-asana is also known as the mrta-asana.
|"Laying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called Shava-asana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind."
The Hatha-yoga-pradipika I.34
While many consider this a simple posture at first, its simplicity eventually proves to be deceiving. The goal of the shava-asana is for the body and mind to be perfectly still and relaxed. Not only should the body be motionless and at ease, but the mind as well should be quiet, like the surface of a still lake. The result will be a deep and stable relaxation that will extend into your meditation or be felt through the activities of your daily circumstances.
It goes without saying that the shava-asana will take some time to perfect. You will find the simple exercise of focusing your attention on each part of your body and consciously directing the breath there to be a great help with this posture.
There are two common obstacles that can prevent you from fully benefitting from this posture: sleepiness and a restless mind. If find yourself getting drowsey while in the shava-asana increase the rate and depth of your breathing. If your mind is restless or wondering focus your attention on all of the bodily senations you're experiencing. Bring your mind to the sensation of the floor beneath you or on the rhythm of your breath.
While practing your Yoga-asana routine you should always begin and end each session with the shava-asana.