Asanas based on the Strength of Spine
This posture provides rest. In this posture the body stays still without any movement like a corpse. Thus it is called shavasana. The word ‘shava’ means corpse. This asana has a supernatural effect on mind, body and spiritual levels of a person. Scripture have described the following in respect to this asana –
उत्तानं शदवदभूमौ शयनं तच्छवासनम् |
शवासनं श्रांतिहरं चित्तविश्रांतिकारकम् ||
In order to practice shavasana one should first lie down on his back on the floor.
Rest your hands on the floor at normal distance from the body with palms facing the sky. Both the feet should be one and half to two feet apart from each other. Keep your head straight and body should be perceived (shareer dharana).
Shareer Dharana (Perception of body)
Shareer dharana is done by deliberately perceiving each part of the body. We start contemplating our left toe in our mind. Then we extend our concentration over to all the five fingers of our left feet. Then we concentrate over our left feet. As we do that we feel to experience our feet getting tired. Then we try to visualize our left ankle and feel to experience your ankle joint being relieved of all the tension and relaxing. Now you must be looking at the shin of your left leg and feel it being thoroughly relaxed. Now visualize your knees getting relieved of all the pain and being relaxed. After this contemplate over your thigh and feel it being relaxed as well. Feel the same with the joint of your thigh. Now you can visualize your entire left being in the state of deep relaxation. Now try to contemplate over your right in the same manner as you visualized the toe, feet, ankle, ankle joint, shin, knees, thigh and thigh joint of the left leg being thrown in the deep state of relaxation. Simply repeat this process over your right leg. Once you have done this you will experience both of your legs completely relaxed, empty and sober. Now we need to extend our concentration to over our upper part of the body that is our spine, waist bone, spinal cord, back, stomach, navel, chest and shoulders. You can feel them performing their functionalities with improved efficiency and they are now endowed with new awareness and energy. Along with these affects you can also realize these parts entering into a complete relaxation mode. Now we move our concentration on to the fingers of our left arm and its palm, wrist, elbow and shoulder joint. As we visualize each of these parts, we can realize them being in a deep relaxation trance and experience a calming effect over them. Repeat the same process on each part for your right hand. You should be feeling your right hand deeply relaxed. Now contemplate over your neck, you can observe every part of body below dwelling in a deep state of rest. Now you can move on to chin, teeth, jaw, tongue, throat, nose, eyes and ear. You can experience a divine emptiness and vacuum. Now try to concentrate over your forehead, the area between your eyebrows, rear part of your head, upper part of the head and both parts of the brain. Also try to experience them falling into deep vacuum. Therefore the entire body experiences a deep trance and you can witness yourself as an audience. This completes the process of shareer dharana.
The next stage of shareer dharana is prana dharana. Under normal conditions when we inhale oxygen, very small part of it reaches our lungs and stomach passing through nose and throat. But with the practice of prana dharana, we can pass oxygen on to every part of the body at our will. Prana dharana enables us to strengthen our will power to control our body from the tip of your nails to the top of your head. When the oxygen enters our body we contemplate it filling the head area entirely followed by hands and legs. You are subjected to a brand new experience as you are going through it for the first time. You will consequently experience divine bliss and blithe. The next stage is prana samyamana.
You must concentrate over your respiration initially in the process of prana samyamana. Later witness the area of navel as an audience. You can witness the stomach expanding out when you inhale and contracting inwards when you exhale.
After practicing this process for a while your mind will start to enter a peaceful state automatically. Therefore we start with shareer dharana, a process in which we contemplate each part entering a state of deep relaxation. Then we observe prana dharana through which we fill oxygen and energy in each and every part of the body using our will power. And in the next process prana samyamana, we concentrate over the respiration and support the mind to relax and experience a peaceful mode. In this state you should concentrate over each and every part of your body in detail which is prone to pain or disease and contemplate to make it function in healthy manner through the limitless capability of yoga and the grace of God. Then we direct our mind to contemplate ourselves in a place like a forest near Himalaya to be in very close proximity to nature. Imagine yourself being near a waterfall in the forest and try to listen to the sound of the flow of water clearly. Feel the divine fragrance of the amazing cool breeze embracing you. Now visualize yourself taking bath in that pure water endowed with the divine medicinal qualities of Himalaya. Consequently you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and healthier after this bath. Imagine yourself plucking fragrant and beautiful flowers available around the waterfalls. Collect water, flowers and other stuff required for puja (worship) and enter into the nearby temple of Neelakanta Mahadev. Contemplate yourself standing in front of the idol of Lord Shiva with all the pujan samagri. Imagine yourself bathing the idol with water and pouring milk, curd, pure ghee, sugar i.e imagine yourself performing abhisheka with panchamruta. After abhisheka visualize yourself offerin beautiful clothes and yagnopaveet to the Lord. Also imagine applying tripund on him and offering perfumes. Then offer Bengal quince, flowers and naivedya to the Lord. Now offer water and perform aarthi process and salute to the Lord. Visualize the Lord himself appearing in front of you and bless you with the health and relieve you from all the sufferings of the life and eventually vanishes into the idol. According to sages, this kind of worship done mentally is ten times more beneficial than the normal puja.
Now gradually bring both your hands and legs together and turn around to get up and get into sitting posture. This is the end of the shavasana that relieves you from physical stress and provides mental peace too.
Certain precautionary measures are inevitable for this asana too inspite of being so simple and effective.
1. One who suffers with acute back pain should not practice this asana.
2. People suffering with low BP also should not practice it.
1. Highly beneficial for people suffering with high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety.
2. Through the practice of shavasana one can experience happiness, peace and joy throughout the day.
3. You will be relieved from ill feelings such as envy, resentment, anxiety, anger and jealousy.
4. Shavasna is very useful if practiced repeatedly after a set of other asanas.
The yoga teacher training in Dharmasala offers good training for the asanas specialised for the strength of the spine.