Shavasana |

Shavasana |

Shavasana |

Who ever heard of a workshop on Shavasana?  There is a class that takes you through a guided Shavasana called Yoga Nidra.  However, there is more to Shavasana than meets the eye.  I found this wonderful article from my favorite yoga magazine Yoga International.  The article is simply titled Shavasana.  You can click the title to read more or read excerpts below.

Sanskrit name:  Shavasana

English:  Corpse Pose

Alignment (from Yoga International):

To begin, lie on your back on a firm, flat surface. Place a thin cushion under your head and neck, shaping the cushion so that it supports the natural arch in the neck. Bring the legs about 12–18 inches apart, adjusting the distance until the hip joints relax. Draw the shoulder blades down away from the ears and slide them toward one another until they seem to rest flat against the floor underneath you. Let the weight of your upper body rest on the shoulder blades. Then release the arms to the sides, placing them 8–10 inches from the body with the palms turned up.

Gently lengthen your lower back, sliding the buttocks in the direction of the tailbone. The lower back retains a natural arch, but this arch is not exaggerated or constricted. If lying with your legs straight creates discomfort in your lower back, place a folded blanket or a bolster underneath the knees. Adjust the height of the support under the knees to gain maximum relief.

When you are ready, close your eyes. Turn your head side to side a few times, gradually resting it upright and in the center, nestled on the cushion under your neck.

Now take a moment to survey your body, adjusting it to make it as comfortable as possible. A bunched-up portion of clothing that pushes unevenly against your body or a lopsided pillow can distract you. Don’t ignore these small details; when parts of your body are still asking for attention, they are not completely at ease and continue to disturb the central nervous system.


As muscles relax, the nerve impulses traveling to and from them decrease, and the brain calms down. A message of relaxation spreads throughout the entire nervous system, and gradually the tensions that have crept into your body and mind release. Maintain the pose for about 10 minutes. You’ll begin to notice that distracting or stressful thoughts are increasingly unimportant and fall away. You will be more alert to the mental processes that disturb your relaxation. And as you recognize how these thought patterns affect your body, you enable yourself to change—and to empower your body’s natural healing properties.

We know this is one of the most important parts of our practice and it is the pose most people try to skip out on.  According to the Iyengar tradition the three essential poses are headstand, shoulderstand and shavasana.  If this is true, maybe we should hold shavasana a little bit longer.



Elizabeth Delaney