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Shavasana (corpse pose)  

This asana is known as Shavasana or Corpse Pose as it looks like a dead body. This asana is one of the easiest asanas to get into but the most difficult to practice. It is one of the best relaxation poses and if practiced correctly and with full efforts, can relax every body part, relaxing not only the body but also the mind. Taking the asana position Spread the legs one to two feet apart, the toes are turned outwards, the heels facing each other, a comfortable distance apart. Bring the arms a little away from the body, palms turned upward. Close the eyes and focus the attention on the body, breathing normally. Begin focusing each body part and relaxing it, then moving on. Keep the mind focused on relaxation, the breath should be normal. Relax the whole body. The asana position This asana looks very simple to practice but is actually highly difficult. To keep the body in a corpse like state is the external position and is not so important. What is important, and lies in the success of this asana is keeping the mind focused on relaxing every body part. To be able to do this the body needs to be in a comfortable, soothing position and state. In each position of the body there is a kind of strain or pressure on every muscle, called tone. The aim of this asana is to reduce this strain and give the muscles the real rest and relaxation that they need. All the muscles cannot be relaxed immediately after taking the shavasana position, therefore one has to relax each muscle with great deliberation. One has to pacify and relax the mind, freeing it from thoughts, worries and ideas. One has to think of each and every body part (the amount of detail will depend on the time available) and relax it, from the crown of the head to the toes. The direction of relaxation can vary from crown to toes or from the right hand, to right foot and then left hand to left foot, finishing with the back and head. The mind and body are deeply connected. If the mind is occupied by thoughts and worries then the shavasana will be unsuccessful. Therefore one has to acquire the stability of the mind along with the stability of the body. When one first goes into the asana the motor neurons that innervate the skeletal muscles are still firing nerve impulses. As the breath becomes more regular and relaxed the nerve impulses slowly begin to drop. The rhythmical movement of the respiratory diaphragm leads to deeper relaxation and eventually even the nerve impulses to the deep postural muscles of the torso are minimised. After taking the position first attempt to free the mind from thoughts and worries and concentrate on the body. Then concentrate on each body part, relaxing it. After relaxing the whole body turn the mind to the direction of the breath. Do not allow the mind to control the breath but let it be slow and relaxed. The more the body relaxes, the slower the breath will become. In the final position the whole body is completely relaxed, the breath is very slow and the mind is stable and quiet.
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