Shavasana is one of the most important yet taken for granted yoga asana. Many people consider Shavasana the most easiest yoga asana because they think you don’t have to do anything in this asana except lying down. No wonder many people often fell asleep while practicing Shavasana.
Shavasana is not just about relaxing down your body but it has much more to do with it. It requires you to relax totally and yet be aware. It gives you a chance to experience the moment when death happens. It gives you an opportunity to dis-identify yourself with your body, mind, and the ego. You can practice this asana as the last asana while doing your set of yoga asanas or you can also do it before going to sleep in the night or at any time of the day. What is important is to relax yourself physically and remain conscious of whatever happens to your body and whatever thoughts trigger inside your mind while being in this asana.
How to use Shavasana for Meditation and Spirituality:
1. Experience death in Shavasana:
‘Sav’ means corpse and ‘asana’ means pose. So in Shavasana, you are supposed to be in an asana of a corpse. But you can never die. Because you are not the body and not the mind. You are the eternal soul which never dies, never born and only changes body while taking new birth.
So try to disidentify totally from your body. Watch the body as if it has died and you are watching the dead body of yours or of someone else (whatever makes your comfortable practicing it). Which means if a mosquito is biting you then you are just supposed to watch it and do nothing. If you feel the urge to scratch your back then just watch the sensation in your body as well as the urge to scratch. All this is easier said than done. That’s why practicing Shavasana is not easy. Because we are so much identified with our body that it is not easy to be in a corpse position voluntarily.
There is a meditation related with Shavasana which you can do before going to sleep. The meditation involves visualizing that you have died and your funeral procession is going on. All you relative and friends are present. Some are crying, some are sad and some people are shocked. Finally, your dead body is taken to cremation ghat and your body is burned and you have to see this happening. Such a meditation helps you to disidentify yourself from the body. You get a chance to feel that someday you also have to die. Otherwise, we live in the illusion that death is never going to happen to us.
Gautam Buddha used to send his new initiates to cremation ghat for some days. So that they see the burning bodies throughout the day and meditate on the thoughts which come in their mind. This was the method to make them realize that one day they are also going to die. So no need to get so much identified or fond of the body. Instead of pampering the body, focus your energy on deepening your spiritual practice which can help you to get out of this world which is full of sorrow and pain.
For advanced meditators Shavasana is very useful because through this practice, you can get a glimpse of death or the idea can touch you deeply that one day I will also die. So I better put my 100 percent energy in going deep in my spiritual search.
2. Be a Watcher of your body and mind:
When you lie down in Shavasana then after some time you are going to feel uncomfortable becasuse all this is very boring for the mind. So it will definitely create some distraction or other. It could be a sensation in any part of the body or you may feel like changing the position to make yourself comfortable or some other thought might occupy your attention.
This happens with all of us. But remember to be a watcher of all these phenomena. Don’t move physically to make yourself comfortable and don’t get involve in the mental process. Just watch your thoughts as if they belong to someone else. Watch the sensation in your body as if the body does not belong to you or has died.
If you can be totally detached from the body and mind in Shavasana then much is possible. You can have a bodyless experienece where you are floating in the air and watching your body lying down or you can have an experience of satori or any other deep meditatoon experience. It can also create some separation between you and your body. It will also lead to more mastery over your body and mind. So much is possible but the key thing is to become a corpse and yet remain aware.
Remember, in Shavasana only the body has died but you are not the body but the soul who was using this body just as a vehicle. So be a watcher of your body and mind in this asana. Most People just focus on relaxation part in Shavasana. But they ignore the consciousness which needs to be present while doing this asana.
So bring more detachment from your body-mind, more consciousness and do it sincerely and much can be achieved in this easiest and yet most difficult of asana.