Shavasana Rejuvenates the Body, Mind, and Spirit

Shavasana (शवासन), Corpse Pose, or Mrutasana, is an asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, often used for relaxation at the end of a session. It is the usual pose for the practice of Yoga Nidra meditation. Shavasana might look like a nap at the end of your yoga practice. But it’s actually a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed. In Shavasana—also known as corpse pose— you lie down on your back and relax your body and mind so you may fully assimilate the benefits of your asana practice. However, Dr. Swami Hardas, inventor of Swami Hardas Life System has also included Shavasana as a healing method for well-being.

Ideal for health conditions

Shavasana is ideal for the health conditions for:

  • Relaxing completely.
  • Calming your mind and body.
  • Feeling the grounding.
  • Promoting self-healing.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose): Meaning, Steps & Benefits - Fitsri
Corpse Pose

Shavasana etymology and origins

The name comes from the Sanskrit words शव Śhava, “corpse” and आसन Āsana, “posture” or “seat”. The alternative name Mrutasana is from Sanskrit मृत mṛuta, “dead”.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.32

The earliest mention of this asana is in the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.32, which states in the context of a medieval belief system that “lying down on the ground supine, like a corpse, is called Shavasana. It eliminates tiredness and promotes calmness of the mind.”

Sankhya philosophy

Yoga Nidra has its roots in a philosophy called Sankhya which was first written down around 700 BC. Over centuries, people practiced these teachings and expanded upon them – Patanjali and the Buddha being some of its more famous proponents. These teachings were further explored in the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta (meaning ‘not two’ – ‘non-dual’) and a century or so later, the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism.

This encompasses an incredible breadth of experience and practical guidance, all pointing us to a simple truth: at our essence, we are the stillness of awareness, and this inner light, when explored, takes us into the macrocosm and the realization of our unity. The practice of Yoga Nidra becomes an experiential map of the history of meditation and encompasses all of these philosophies along its journey. 

Shavasana Description

Shavasana and some sitting asanas maintain the balance between relaxation and meditation (two key components of yoga) by their equal input of physical stimuli.

Performed on the back

It is performed on the back with the legs spread as wide as the yoga mat and arms relaxed to the side, and the eyes closed. The whole body is relaxed on the floor with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath.

During Shavasana, all parts of the body are scanned for muscular tension of any kind. Any muscular tension the body finds is consciously released as it is found. All control of the breath, the mind, and the body is then released for the duration of the asana. Shavasana is typically practiced for 5–10 minutes at the end of asana practice but can be practiced for 20–30 minutes.

Released by slowly deepening breath

The asana is released by slowly deepening the breath, flexing the fingers and toes, reaching the arms above the head, stretching the whole body, and exhaling while bringing the knees to the chest and rolling over to the side in a fetal position, drawing the head in the right arm.

From here, one can push up into a seated position. Drowsiness or restlessness of the mind while in Shavasana may be counteracted by increasing the rate and depth of breathing. While in Shavasana, it is important to be in a neutral position.

Shavasana Variations

Shavasana can be modified by bending the knees and keeping the feet hip-width apart, to allow people with low back pain to recline comfortably. The variation can also be used by practitioners who find it hard to relax when lying flat.

The Challenge of Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Variation in Shavasana For Back Pain

Shavasana effects

Shavasana is intended to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. In the pose, the breath deepens, and the stress of the day is released. The yogi forgets all other thoughts and surrenders any psychological effort. While in Shavasana, yogis slip into blissful neutrality and reflect on the practice. Comfort is essential in the pose; the slightest point of discomfort can be endlessly distracting. Shavasana is a good way to reduce stress and tension.

How to take Shavasana

  1. Set aside 3-10 minutes after your workout. Head to a quiet place you can lay on the ground or sit.
  2. Lie with your back on the ground with your feet hip-width apart, your arms relaxed alongside your body, and your palms facing up.
  3. Close your eyes and relax your breathing. Let go of any muscle tension that may have built up during your workout. Try to clear your mind. If thoughts come up, acknowledge them and let them go.
  4. You may find yourself drifting off to sleep, but try to stay awake and aware of the present moment. The true benefits of Shavasana — or any meditation — happen when you approach it with mindfulness and intention.
  5. When you’re ready to end your Shavasana, bring energy back into the body by wiggling your fingers and toes. Roll to your right side, then slowly move into a comfortable seated position.

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you find it difficult to keep your spine grounded to the floor, place a folded blanket under your lower back.
  • You can also rest your arms on a bolster or pillow to make them more comfortable.
  • Make sure you are warm and comfortable before practicing Shavasana and feel free to use blankets if needed.
  • If you’re struggling to relax, focus on your breath and count each inhale and exhales. This will help quiet the mind.
Aankhon Ke Liye Exercise| Aankhon Ke Liye Kaun Sa Yoga Karen| Yoga For Eyes | Aankhon Ke Liye Exercise: आंखों के लिए बेस्ट हैं ये योगा, जड़ से खत्म होगी सभी परेशानियां |
Steps of Shavasana

Shavasana Health Benefits

  1. Shavasana relaxes your whole body.
  2. Releases stress, fatigue, depression, and tension.
  3. Improves concentration.
  4. Cures insomnia.
  5. Relaxes your muscles.
  6. Calms the mind and improves mental health.
  7. Excellent asana for stimulating blood circulation.
  8. Beneficial for those suffering from neurological problems, asthma, constipation, diabetes, and indigestion.
  9. This posture brings a deep, meditative state of rest, which may help in the repair of tissues and cells, and in releasing stress. It also gives time for the yoga workout to sink in at a deeper level.
  10. This posture leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It is the perfect way to end a yoga session, particularly if it has been a fast-paced one.
  11. It helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia.
  12. This is an excellent way to ground the body and reduce the Vata dosha (imbalance of the air element) in the body.

Shavasana may help keep post-workout high throughout the day

Do you know that natural high you get after exercise? Shavasana might help to prolong your elevated mood long after you’ve stepped off the mat, said Manly.

“If you’re able to really slow it down and enjoy the rest, you can take that relaxation through the next part of your day,” she said. “It lets the body flood with feel-good neurochemicals that help you sustain your good mood.”

There are also long-term mental health benefits from combining mindfulness with exercise. A 2016 study found that people with clinical depression saw immense improvements in their symptoms when they meditated for 30 minutes before hitting the treadmill twice a week for eight weeks.

Shavasana keeps present and more joyful

How often are you thinking of something other than what you’re doing right now? A 2010 study that gathered iPhone app responses from 2,250 adults worldwide revealed that almost half our thoughts have nothing to do with what’s going on at any given moment.

Upon further analysis, the data also showed that people tended to be less happy when their thoughts did not align with their actions.

Shavasana and meditation can help us focus on the here and now, potentially making us feel more joyful throughout our lives, Astor explains.

Next time your classmates start rolling up their mats and darting out of the studio just before Shavasana — or you’re tempted to rush back to work after a run — double down on your own meditation.

Yoga Nidra in Shavasana

The natural state of equilibrium

Yoga Nidra (“yogic sleep”) meditation is often practiced in Shavasana. Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation also known as “yogic sleep” or “effortless relaxation”. It’s usually practiced lying down with a teacher guiding the session. The practice draws our attention inwards, and we learn to surf between the states of wakefulness and sleep, where our body finds its natural state of equilibrium (homeostasis) – the breath balances and becomes quiet, and unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind reveal themselves, and we fall into an innate state of deep, blissful awareness.

Becoming aware of our true

As we rest here, we can turn our attention easily and effortlessly to the very nature of awareness and consciousness. We start to experience the ‘deeper’ features of yogic teachings that previously we perhaps considered intangible, such as feeling our interconnected wholeness and becoming aware of our true, unified nature – expansive, inclusive, and deeply restful. 

Healed, restored, and awakened

Yoga Nidra takes us effortlessly into a state of harmonious, restful being, which can heal, restore, and awaken to our deepest, all-knowing, all-welcoming selves. It’s a sublime practice, gaining popularity the world over, and ongoing research continues to prove its effectiveness.

What Is Yoga Nidra - Explanation & Benefits | Arhanta Yoga Blog
Yoga Nidra

Benefits of Yoga Nidra

Regulates processes of the body

Bar says that yoga Nidra works with the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates processes of the body that take place without a conscious effort (heartbeat, breathing, digestion, and blood flow). This system also includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Balances immunity, digestion, and stress management

Meditation helps us calm the sympathetic nervous system; mainly, our fight-or-flight response, explains Bar. “We do a meditation practice to basically calm the sympathetic, or fight-or-flight and activate the parasympathetic more. The benefits include:

  • Immunity,
  • Digestion, and
  • Stress management.

But in this deeper relaxation, the pineal gland is activated, and that releases the hormone melatonin.”

Induces restful sleep

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. It can also help manage immune function, blood pressure, and cortisol levels and induce restful sleep.

Useful in reducing cognitive and physiological symptoms of anxiety

A recent study showed that while meditation and Yoga Nidra were both effective in reducing anxiety and stress, Yoga Nidra seemed to be more effective in reducing anxiety. The study also suggested that Yoga Nidra can be a useful tool in reducing both cognitive and physiological symptoms of anxiety.

Shavasana Contraindications

Those with back issues can do the pose with a bolster under their knees. Those with a reverse curve in their necks should place a small rolled blanket under the neck. The body should be warm in Shavasana. If the environment is cold, cover the body with a blanket. Keep the room dark or cover the eyes with an eye bag or bandage.


Because of the above, I am confident that you have learned in-depth about Shavasana, its meaning, how to practice it, health benefits, and contraindications. Now, that you have become self-sufficient, hence it’s the right time to use your acquired knowledge for gaining numerous benefits for well-being.

However, keep learning and practicing, which would help in solving various problems without money and medicines.

After reading this article, how would you rate it? Would you please let me know your precious thoughts? 

Frequently asked questions

Before posting your query, kindly go through them:

What is the meaning of Shavasana?

The name comes from the Sanskrit words शव Śhava, “corpse” and आसन Āsana, “posture” or “seat”. The alternative name Mrutasana is from Sanskrit मृत mṛuta, “dead”.

Can Shavasana be modified?

Shavasana can be modified by bending the knees and keeping the feet hip-width apart, to allow people with low back pain to recline comfortably. The variation can also be used by practitioners who find it hard to relax when lying flat.


What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra (“yogic sleep”) meditation is often practiced in Shavasana, which is a form of guided meditation also known as “yogic sleep” or “effortless relaxation”. It’s usually practiced lying down with a teacher guiding the session.

Related Posts