Mental Health Benefits of Shavasana : Yoga for Mind


Mental health benefits of Shavasana: Yoga for Mind

Mental health benefits of Shavasana:

[Contributors- Er. Dileep Agrahari Yoga Practitioner, Jack Benzaquen, CEO of Duradry,  Jennifer Jacobsen, Yoga Instructor]

Highlighting the prominence of Shavasana, one of the foremost yoga teachers of the world, BKS Iyengar quoted, “Shavasana is being without was, and being without will be. It is being without anyone who is.” Elusive, isn’t it? Don’t worry. For, by the end of this article, you would definitely be able to crack it.

In this article, ‘Mental health benefits of Shavasana: Yoga for Mind’ we shall look into the numerous mental health benefits of Shavasana, how it actually works, and why should one incorporate it into one’s daily life. Let’s begin without further ado.

Why practice Shavasana?

 According to Mimi Chen, Advanced Certified Yoga Teacher Practicing Shavasana at the end of a yoga session has important mental health benefits. As a yogi moves through the various poses, the physical body is getting challenged and there is a sustained focus on the breath to move through these efforts. At the end of the practice, the body is fatigued from the physical work and the mind's resistance to letting go is weakened. When the resistance is weakened, the attachments to identity, anger, ego, or to what creates stress in our minds begin to leave.

The practice of laying down, closing one's eyes, and letting go creates space in the mind. This space gives the mind the break it craves and needs for mental well-being. When settled in Shavasana, the body absorbs the benefits from the practice and the 5 -10 minutes is probably the only time in the day that the relentless mind gets a break.

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How does Shavasana work?

When the spine is erect, it automatically brings the rest of the internal organs to rest and peace, and creates a calmness in the mind. It automatically makes the prana(life-giving force) available to the Seeker. Shavasana is such a pose where the spine is erect, and it is easier to maintain a steady, stable, motionless and comfortable stance laying down rather than standing. This pose makes one seem like a corpse (shava). When the whole system is surrendered in such a state, and the prana is immediately available, then one is able to turn away from the distractions in the mind and focus on the Self. This focus is Dharana. The continued focus for a long period of time without any other distractions in the mind is Dharana, and then the object and the observer start to become one in Samadhi. In the sense of Yoga, the object of observation is the Self. The union with the Self is Yoga, and so the pose Shavasana allows for this union to happen. All mental health issues are ultimately caused by the spiritual disease of lack of alignment/union with the Self. This separation from Who We Truly Are creates stress and fear. To the degree that we return to ourselves, we die to who we are not. We heal all health issues in the body, the mind, and the spirit. 

 How to do Shavasana?

Shavasana can be done in quite many ways at your convenience. Here, we shall examine two such ways through which you too can avail of the mental health benefits of Shavasana.

In order to get started with Shavasana, first, place your mat close to a chair or on anything above floor level. After that lie down on the floor and place your feet on a chair. Use a towel roll to support your neck.

Your blood flow and circulation will start flowing down from your feet to your head. This is incredibly beneficial for the nervous system. After doing it for about five to ten minutes just lie down on your yoga mat with your face pointed to the ceiling.

Now start with your outer part of your body.

Completely leave your hands in a relaxed position on the floor with your thumbs touching the floor and then slowly try to feel the blood flow coming to your hands.

After that start visualizing your thoughts by just closing your eyes and feeling the relaxation in your body. Then do it for all other parts of the body, one by one. You can do this kind of exercise at any time for any length.  


Lie down on the yoga mat on your back and see to it that there are no props used. You can use a small pillow if absolutely necessary, otherwise not..

Place your legs out comfortably and the toes sidewards and stretch out your hands a little bit, not too much. 

Close your eyes and relax your body. Inhale deeply and exhale. Inhale to get energized and exhale to return to a calm state. While inhaling, focus on every part of your body, from the toes upward. This relaxes the body completely.

Let the body relax for about 10-12 minutes but do see to it that you do not doze off. After the time period, roll over to one side and stay for some time before getting up and sitting in Sukhasana. After sitting up, take some time to gain awareness of your surroundings.

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As suggested by experts, there are three steps that help facilitate the mental health benefits from Shavasana. The first step is to lay on a comfortable mat made of natural materials -preferably organic cotton, which will enhance the overall experience. If the body temperature has dropped, drape a covering over the body to preserve some heat and comfort. The second step is to let go of any clenching or tensing in the body -- relax the body. The final step is to stop controlling the breath(if ujjayi is used during the practice) and let the breath breathe the body in a natural, comfortable rhythm.

There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Don't skip the Shavasana at the end of your practice, it is only 5 -10 minutes of your day and it provides a boost to your mood and mental health wellness. 


How does Shavasana help with your mental health?

Shavasana is beneficial for both your inner and outer body. Relaxing on the floor and making the blood flow into your whole body makes the muscles relax and improves the body's circulation. At the same time, it allows you to relax your mind, remove useless thoughts or, that trigger negative emotions.

·  Relaxing mind- the whole body along with the mind gets relaxed as this asana is practiced day after day.

·  Memory- this asana helps in increasing focus and concentration. Hence, anyone with a memory disorder like the elderly or with problems in focusing can practice this to gain benefits.

·  Insomnia- people with insomnia get a good night’s sleep after practicing this asana.

·  Spiritual awakening and higher consciousness- meditation is a powerful tool to wake up the mind and protect mental health. Meditating during Shavasana opens up higher levels of energy and thus gears up the mind to a spiritual awakening.

·  Calms the being and reduces stress.

How does Shavasana reduce stress?

Shavasana is a posture practiced at the end of a yoga workout. This asana is mainly practiced to return the stressed-out body to its natural calm state and to return all bodily functions to their equilibrium state. In order to do that, the body stops working and the mind enters a meditative state. Now in this state, everything is secondary and remaining calm is primary. 

When the mind focuses only upon oneself and stops thinking about the world, it enters a self-appreciative state and the apparent stress moves away. It is almost like at the end of a strenuous workout, you are rewarding yourself with some calm. Shavasana makes your mind quiet and peaceful. It also gives a boost of energy which works as a recharger. Your body, in harmony with your mind, will work better obviously, afterward.

You gain peace and self-acceptance. The mind clears itself of all the worry in itself and starts to focus, hence helping in actually doing the work at hand rather than pondering about it from time to time. Stress reduces eventually and the whole being becomes a lot more calm and peaceful.

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 Shavasana for holistic well being

·  Helps in blood circulation- when you are lying down and the inhaling and exhaling, there is a better passage of oxygen which improves blood flow throughout the body.

·  Gives more energy- if there is better blood circulation, there will be better metabolism which will result in more energy release.

·  Lowers blood pressure- this asana is recommended for anyone with high blood pressure because of this reason. The relaxing of the body results in lowering of blood pressure.

·  Nervous system- the asana helps in activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

·  Digestion and diabetes- since the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated, all intestinal and gastric activity also increases.


Concluding: ‘Mental health benefits of Shavasana: Yoga for Mind’

 Every work needs a start and a better ending, Shavasana acts as the perfect ending after a long session of yoga practice. It rejuvenates every cell in the  body, as well as calms and refreshes the mind as the being, prepares for another day in what we call life.

I hope my article, ‘Mental health benefits of Shavasana: Yoga for Mind’ is of assistance. Subscribe to my newsletter and get all latest updates delivered straight into your inbox.

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