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Corpse Yoga Pose (Shavasana)


The corpse pose, or shavasana / mrtasana, is a relaxing yoga pose generally used for the purpose of relaxation after a yoga session or routine. It is also the standard pose for yoga nidra, and is practiced to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.

Sanskrit Name and Pronunciation of Shavasana

The Sanskrit name of the Corpse Pose is Shavasana, which is pronounced sha-va-ah-suh-nuh. It is derived from the Sanskrit words sava, meaning corpse, and asana, meaning pose or seat. 

Is the Corpse Pose Difficult?

Although the Corpse Pose is a beginner yoga asana, it is often called the most difficult yoga pose to master. This is because our mind has a habit of always keeping busy with thoughts, thus making it difficult to clear the mind and relax.

Benefits of Practicing Shavasana

– Eliminates body tension
– Controls breathing and calms the body
– Calms the central nervous system
– Releases stress, and repairs cells and tissues
– Helps cure insomnia, and controls blood pressure
– Guides the body to achieve the turiya state in Samadhi
– Improves respiratory and cardiovascular function
– Facilitates recovery and treatment of addiction
– Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
– Improves sleep patterns, and enhances overall well-being and quality of life.

Step-By-Step Sequencing Guide: How to Do Corpse Pose


Here is the step-by-step guide to do the Corpse Pose (Shavasana):

1. Lie down on your back.
2. Separate your legs. Let go of the tension of holding your legs straight and allow your feet to fall to either side.
3. Bring your arms to your side, and keep them slightly separated from the torso. Turn your palms face up and let your fingers curl inwards.
4. Relax the whole body, including the face.
5. Breathe naturally and focus your attention on your breathing.
6. Stay in the position for a minimum of 5 minutes, and a maximum of 10-15 minutes.
7. To finish the routine, deepen your breathing, then slowly ‘wake up’ the body by focusing on your extremities.
8. Stretch your arms overhead, bring your knees into the chest, and roll your body to the side while keeping your eyelids shut. You can use your arm as a pillow as you relax in the fetal position.
9. Using your hands, bring your body into the sitting position and feel the calm of your surroundings.

How Long to Do the Corpse Pose?

Stay in the corpse position for a minimum of 5 minutes, and a maximum of 10-15 minutes. Set an alarm to avoid breaking concentration when checking the time.

What if I Can't Do Shavasana?

If you’re finding it hard to do the corpse pose, then the whole purpose of yoga is essentially defeated. However, if you’re having a hard time clearing the mind of distracting thoughts, try meditating beforehand.