In our modern age, the Shava Asana is of the highest priority as it gives real rest. In our context, the word Shava means resting as completely as the dead. The word Asana is the Posture for achieving this state of rest. We can gain the rest of many nights' sleeps, while doing it once. If we practice it daily, we can experience its marvels. We proceed as follows:
POSITION OF READINESS:
We lie down on our back, while keeping the whole body loose and in straight position. We can keep the palms either on the floor or upwards. We do not use any pillow under our head. At this point, we keep breathing in the normal way. We keep the eyes closed and let the whole body fall on the floor in an unstrained way. This is the position of readiness and the same position remains throughout the actual practice.
STEPS FOR PRACTICE:
1. We close our eyes and keep them closed for two seconds. Then open them for two seconds. We do this simple opening and closing of the eyes for three to four times.
2. We open the eyes again and look upward, then downward, then straight. Now, we look towards the left side and then the right side, then straight again, and then close our eyes. We repeat this eye exercise for two to three times.
3. Now, we open our mouth wide without straining it. Then we turn our tongue inside in such a way that its tip goes towards the mouth and the throat area, while we fold it in that direction. Then we close the mouth. We keep the mouth closed and the tongue folded for 10 seconds. Then we open the mouth and bring the tongue back to its normal position, then close our mouth. We repeat the process for two to three rounds.
4. While keeping our eyes closed, we bring our mental attention towards our toes. We mentally see, observe and feel that the toes are at rest and experience the relaxation. Then we move slowly upwards, mentally, and towards the head, while checking in our mind the knees, thighs, waist, spinal chord, back, shoulders, neck, arms, palms, fingers and the rest of the areas of the body, while giving it the mental relaxation as we stop giving orders to these and make it sure that these experience the relaxation. Then we make a slight movement of the neck and the head by turning it right and left. Finally, we allow our head to rest at a comfortable position. Now, our entire body is at rest.
5. Then we relax our mind with the following process:
We select a place of natural beauty, which we have visited and liked, such as a park, a garden, a lawn or a river, and imagine we are mentally present at that place. We attach our mind to that place and feel as if we are living at that place and breathing the air of that place and environment. Now, while our mind is in that environment, we do some deep breathing. In this deep breathing, we just exhale and inhale slowly, but deeply.
During the breathing, the stomach moves upward while inhaling, and downward while exhaling. One exhalation and inhalation make one round. We do not rush in this deep breathing. We make about ten to twelve rounds. When the deep breathing is over, we feel as if we are going to sleep. Now, we relax completely. We stay in this position for five to ten minutes. Then we open our eyes, stretch our body, and then sit in the Sukh Asana or Padama Asana (the Lotus Position). It completes the Shava Asana.
We ensure that we make the Shava Asana at the end of 15 minutes of doing the Asana Pranayama and other activities related with yoga. In case of hypertension and the heart troubles, we prefer the Shava Asana performed singly for longer periods without practicing any other Asanas or additional activities.
BENEFITS OF THE SHAVA ASANA:
The Shava Asana has good effects upon the patients as well as practitioners. Some of the important ones are:
1. It immediately relaxes the muscles, nerves and the organs of the body system, thus upon attaining the relaxation, strength and restoration of their normal health will be enhanced.
2. It heals insomnia, high and the low blood pressure, gastric troubles, lungs and benefits those with heart ailments.
3. It has a great healing effect on mental sickness and other troubles caused by anxiety and stress.
4. It is the incomparable immediate reliever.
5. it gives energy to those who lack energy and thus feel tiredness, fatigue and lack of vitality
Thus, due to its most benevolent and healing effects it is useful for all.