2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses (2015)
RELAXATION AND MEDITATION
Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
(Shava in Sanskrit means “corpse”)
After an intensive asana practice, the final resting yoga pose, Corpse Pose or Shavasana, helps deepen the connection between our physical body and mind and helps prepare both for meditation. Shavasana can be thought of as an awakening, giving us the time to contemplate the question “If I died today, would I be fully satisfied and content with what I accomplished in this lifetime?” Have you lived up to your full potential? Have you fully acknowledged the people in your life that are of great importance to you? Would you be able to pass on with no regrets?
1. Lie down on your back, shoulder blades tucked in, legs apart. Relax your arms and let your palms face the ceiling. Let your fingers naturally curl. Relax your body into a neutral, comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes. Let your jaw naturally separate as you relax your whole body as if it were sinking down to the floor. Release all tension from your body.
3. Without letting the mind wander, concentrate on your breathing to reach a deep state of conscious relaxation, both physically and mentally.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Seated Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
1. Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana), both legs extended in front of you. Grab onto your sitting bones and pull back the flesh to lengthen your legs and spine.
2. Sit in a cross-legged position that is comfortable. You can sit on a chair, in Easy Pose (Sukhasana), in Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana), or Full Lotus (Padmasana). Press your sitting bones into the ground as you extend up through the spine. Lift the crown of your head up to the sky. Place one hand on top of the other and have the thumbs lightly touch. Gently close your eyes. Perform the 1:4:2 Healing Breath Zen Meditation as follows:
Inhale for a count of 4 and feel your lower abdomen expand as you push it out. Hold and retain the air in your lungs for the count of 16. Exhale for a count of 8 as you squeeze the belly button back to the spine. Visualize the numbers as you count throughout the set. This will help develop what is called “one-pointed concentration.” Your breathing must be so fine that it would not ruffle a feather. Each count should be one second long.
After 10 breath cycles are performed, the exercise is finished. In an authentic yoga practice, the ego may not be permitted to intrude into the process. Don’t “perform” the exercises as if you had an appreciative audience. This is your personal journey. Explore and express yourself while you gain the wonderful physical and mental benefits. This breathing technique is called Abdominal Breathing and should be maintained during the entire yoga practice.