Sava or Mrta means a corpse. In this asana the object is to imitate a corpse. Once life has departed, the body remains still and no movements are possible. By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But-it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.
1. Lie flat on the back full length like a corpse. Keep the hands a little away from the thighs, with the palms up.
2. Close the eyes. If possible place a black cloth folded four times over the eyes. Keep the heels together and the toes apart.
3. To start with breathe deeply. Later the breathing should be fine and slow, with no jerky movements to disturb the spine or the body.
4. Concentrate on deep and fine exhalations, in which the nostrils do not feel the warmth of breath.
5. The lower jaw should hang loose and not be clenched. The tongue should not be disturbed, and even the pupils of the eyes should be kept completely passive.
6. Relax completely and breath out slowly.
7. If the mind wanders, pause without any strain after each slow exhalation.
8. Stay in the pose from 15 to 20 minutes.
9. One is apt to fall asleep in the beginning. Gradually, when the nerves become passive, one feels completely relaxed and refreshed.
When well refreshed one feels energy flow from the back of the head towards the heels and not the other way round. One also feels as if the body is elongated.
Verse 32 of the First Chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika states: 'Lying upon one's back on the ground at full length like a corpse is called Savasana. This removes the fatigue caused by the other asanas and induces calmness of mind.'
Mrtasana is thus described in verse 11 of the Second Chapter of the Gheranda Samhita:
'Lying flat on the ground (on one's back) like a corpse is called Mrtasana. This posture destroys fatigue, and quiets the agitation of the mind.'
'The mind is the lord of the Indriyas (the organs of senses); the Prana (the Breath of Life) is the lord of the mind.' 'When the mind is absorbed it is called Moksa (final emancipation, liberation of the soul); when Prana and Manas (the mind) have been absorbed, an undefinable joy ensues.'
Verses 29 and 30, chapter IV, Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
To tame Prana depends upon the nerves. Steady, smooth, fine and deep breathing without any jerky movements of the body soothes the nerves and calms the mind. The stresses of modern civilization are a strain on the nerves for which Savasana is the best antidote.
Was this article helpful?