The Benefits of Shavasana in Yoga
Yoga Terms

The Benefits of Savasana in Yoga

Savasana – Corpse Pose

Savasana is a yoga pose meaning ‘corpse pose’ where one lays on the ground, arms and legs spread apart, palms facing up and eyes are closed. While in this pose breath deeply through your nostrils and simply relax, starting with the head slowly relax your body until you reach your feet. Releasing any tension you may have, quiet the mind and focus on your breath. Savasana is considered to be one of the most important parts of the yoga exercise, as you finish your yoga exercise your brain (and body) are tired enough to let you concentrate on breathing and relaxing. The benefits of savasana in yoga are many, from a decrease in blood pressure and muscle tension to improvement in concentration and in memory.

Quieting the mind

As you finish your yoga practice, the last pose of the day will be the savasana. It might be the most difficult one to do, mainly because it doesn’t require you working any part of your body except the most important one – YOUR BRAIN! As you are laying on your back, eyes closed, trying to focus on your breath many thoughts come to mind. ‘When will I get home’, ‘What will I make for dinner’, ‘Should I call my friend today’, ‘It’s too cold in here’, ‘It’s too hot in here’, ‘Maybe I should quit my job’, ‘Did I send that E-mail’. So many thoughts that come to our mind just when we are trying to release them, this pose is one of the benefits of savasana in yoga, maybe the most important one as you finish your exercise and let your body release any tension and simply relax.

In our daily life, we are always rushing, running, doing something, thinking about someone or something. This is the best opportunity to simply be. As you are. With no limitations, no judging yourself, being present at the moment, embracing the precious time you have with yourself doing nothing at all.

Health Benefits of Savasana

A research was done in association with the Sports Center of the University of São Paulo – Brazil discovered that savasana has positive effects on cardiac autonomic modulation in hypertensive patients.

The investigated intervention (savasana relaxation) decreased sympathovagal balance after its execution, and this reduction was not impaired by hypertension. Thus, these findings strengthen the recommendation of relaxation as part of the non-pharmacological treatment of hyperten-sion, performed alone or in association.

Many researchers have studied about yoga and how it can improve our lives, however not many have studied Savasana in particular. Nevertheless, these are the main benefits known to be achieved by practicing savasana:

  • High energy levels, improvement in concentration, focus, memory, and productivity.
  • Relaxation of the whole body while decreasing muscle tension.
  • Reduces anxiety and is known for helping people suffering from insomnia.
  • Stimulates blood circulations and decreases blood pressure
The Benefits of Shavasana in Yoga
The Benefits of Shavasana in Yoga

Measurable Changes in Brain Regions

A team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported that in a study they have made, participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program makes changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany.

Savasana creates an amazing feeling of relaxation and awareness of the body and may be thought of as a form of meditation, though the physical position in which savasana is done (lying down), can sometimes create the feeling of sleepiness. This is not the only reason why savasana is NOT considered a true meditation, savasana is a passive position while meditation is more dynamic and requires more energy to achieve it. So please note that savasana is not good for a true meditation and rather be used as a form of relaxing the body.

 

5-10 Minutes Is All It Takes

You don’t have to be a yoga expert to experience the amazing feeling of savasana, you may start out with only 5 minutes of laying on your back (after your yoga exercise), inhaling and exhaling from your nostrils, concentrating on your breath. Savasana will give you the feeling of pure relaxation in every part in your body. Start out with only 5 minutes and as you keep practicing you will find that time doesn’t really matter, you may lay for 5, 15 or 30 minutes without even noticing and feel the amazing gift of savasana.

 

I would love to hear about your experience with savasana, let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Paulina

 

15 Comments

  • Cathy

    Totally agree with you. I love the Savasana pose every time my Yoga practice comes to an end. Like today, we did a lot of body twisting in class and the pose really help to relax all the muscle tensions even for 5 minutes.

    Sometimes, after a hard day at work, I just lie down on my Yoga mat at night and let the emptiness sensation takes over my mind. It’s great for unwinding before I go to sleep.

  • Jerry Huang | Stinky Feet Solutions

    This is really interesting. What’s the difference between savasana and meditation? From your description and explanation, it seems like it’s very similar to meditation.

    And, when I think of this particular exercise/posture, I wonder whether some people will just fall asleep in this position when they’re tired…

    • Paulina

      Hey Jarry, Savasana may be thought of as a form of meditation, but because it is done in a lying down position one can feel sleepy but the purpose is to focus on the breath and not let any other thoughts come into mind, full awareness of the breath and body. True meditation requires more energy to achieve it, while savasana is more passive. I think it’s kind of rare to fall asleep while doing savasana, maybe because the body is still very awake from the yoga exercise.
      Paulina

  • Faimi

    Hey Paulina,

    I just read through your post and found it very helpful. I have often heard about yoga from friends but never bothered to try it myself. You make sound really fascinating. Where would you suggest me to start , considering that I’m a complete novice in this field? The “corpse pose” sounds like something that I should be doing at the end of a yoga session, am I correct? Anyway, this was a really helpful post. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Faimi

    • Paulina

      Hey Faimi,
      I think it depends on how much are you willing to invest, if you only want to try yoga out to see if you like it I would suggest to go to a yoga class for a few lessons. That could give you a good indication regarding what your goals are with yoga, (find out if once a week is enough for you or maybe you’ll find out you want to practice more).
      If not, you could try doing some easy yoga poses 10 minutes a day and see how you feel 🙂
      Paulina

  • Greg

    Hi Paulina,
    I’m defiantly going to have to try this pose, it was relaxing just to read about it. Thanks for the info. Do you recommend any yoga pose’s to start with?

  • Merrell

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the sharing about Savasana in Yoga. It seems pretty straightforward type of exercise but as you mentioned, it takes a little bit of effort to master this! (Tried it, but can’t seem to get my mind to stop wandering and focus on my breathing)
    I’m glad that you included scientific studies to back-up the benefits of Savasana because a lot of times, benefits are mentioned without evidence behind it. Good effort!
    So as I read further into your post, can I safely say that the Savasana is also considered a type of meditation exercise as well?
    I will certainly give it a go again later in the evening!

  • W.E. Helper

    I love savasana. It can be hard to let yourself relax at first, but savasana is a good teacher. And once you know how to relax and go into that deep relaxation, the benefits are incredible.

    • Paulina

      You are absolutely right, all we really need to do is relax and concentrate on our breath. I know that for me it is an amazing experience.
      Paulina

  • Lindsey

    I often leave out this part of my yoga workout after I have finished it. I always feel as though it is just me lying on the ground, wasting time. Definitely glad I found this post. I never knew it was so important. I’m going to take this part more seriously because it can be a really good time for me ease the tensions of the day or even the day that is coming and just breathe. It doesn’t hurt that it helps to improve focus and memory either. Thanks for this post.

    • Paulina

      Hey Lindsey, when I just started savasana I didn’t really understand what was supposed to happen or what to expect. But surely it didn’t take a long time until I realized that the whole point of Savasana is to relax, be calm and simply enjoy the present moment.

  • SamDal

    This is a fascinating post re the yoga “corpse pose”. It certainly does quieten the mind and relax the body and I have used to many times over the years with great effect.

    I also incorporate the Wim Hoff breathing method which has an astounding effect on the body too by flooding everyc ell with oxygen and leaving you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to tackle the day ahead of you.

    • Paulina

      Hi and thanks for reading, I have never heard of the Wim Hoff breathing before but I will look into it now 🙂

      Have a wonderful day,

      Paulina

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