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«Position of Dead» is one of the names for «Shavasana», the «Supine Position», the «Deep Relaxation Position». «Shava» means Corpse, «Asana» Position. So the «Position of Dead» is actually the literal translation of the Sanskrit expression of «Position of Dead». «Shavasana» means «Position of Dead». This is meant to express that the body is completely relaxed and external stimuli are ignored. For this, the inner universe opens up. In Yoga Vidya, the expression «Relaxation Position» or «Supine Position» has become more prevalent. But the expression «Position of Dead» is often used to describe the «Deep Relaxation Position» on the back.




The «Position of Dead», «Shavasana», is the classic relaxation posture that is practiced before each session, between the Asanas and the final stages. It looks simple but is one of the toughest Asanas if you want to get it right. At the end of an Asana Session, the «Position of Dead» will be more complete than at the beginning, as the other Asanas have stretched and relaxed the muscles.



Table of Contents

1 Instructions to the Position of Dead

1.1 Effects of Shavasana , the Deep Relaxation

1.1.1 Physically
1.1.2 Energetically
1.1.3 Mentally

2 Final relaxation in the Position of Dead

2.1 Relaxation Techniques

2.1.1 Classical Deep Relaxation according to Vishnu-Devananda
2.1.2 Relaxation over feeling

3 Video: Laya Yoga — Deep Relaxation from Kundalini Yoga



Instructions to the Position of Dead

Pay attention to the body symmetry at the first lie down, because this allows a uniform relaxation of all body parts. Turn your legs inwards, then gently let them fall outward. The same thing happens with the arms. Rotate the spine by rolling your head from side to side to come again in the middle to rest.


Then stretch s from me, as if someone from your head to your feet, your shoulders away from the neck and your legs would pull from the hip. Let gravity work. Feel your weight pulling you deeper into relaxation as your body melts into the ground. Breathe deeply and slowly with your belly, slide with your breath up and down again to sink deeper each time you exhale.


Feel your belly swell and collapse again. Many important physiological changes happen: The loss of energy of the body diminishes; stress is reduced. Breath and pulse slow down. The whole system comes to rest. Your mind becomes clearer and more relaxed as you sink deeper into relaxation.



Effects of Shavasana, the Deep Relaxation


The «Deep Relaxation» triggers the relaxation impulse (Relaxation Response): stress hormones are reduced, happiness hormones (endorphins) are released, and the production of certain messenger substances in the brain becomes stimulated. The parasympatikus becomes activated, the sympathikus becomes reduced. The circulation comes to rest, the arterial walls relax. High blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, digestive diseases, as well as all stress-related illnesses are prevented. The immune system becomes stimulated; colds and metabolic disorders are prevented. Repair processes in the body are improved. 10-15 minutes of deep relaxation can immediately bring consumed energy return during the day or after work.



The «Deep Relaxation» helps to harmonize and accumulate the energies stimulated by the Asanas in the «Nadis» and «Chakras». After a Yoga Session, therefore a «Deep Relaxation» should never be missed; otherwise the awakened «Prana» can turn to unrest and nervousness. During the «Deep Relaxation», the aura can expand; sometimes the astral body will leave the physical body.



The «Deep Relaxation» also regenerates mentally; reduces tensions, leads to inner peace and balance. «Deep Relaxation» can also lead to a sense of pleasure and to transcending of the Body Awareness.



Final Relaxation in the Position of Dead

The «Position of Dead» is the Body Position in the initial relaxation, in the intermediate relaxation and in the final relaxation, also called «Deep Relaxation».


The Yoga Exercises help to get closer to the body, to recognize tension and stress and to control both. At the end of a series of Asanas, one should use at least ten minutes for the Final Relaxation. During this time you relax sequentially each body part. But to experience relaxation, you first have to experience tension. Beginning with the feet, one tenses every part of the body. Then you drop it again (do not lie down).


Now you let your mind wander through the body and commands every part to relax. Dive deep into the calm sea of mind. To bring the consciousness back into the body, gently move the fingers and toes, take a deep breath and sit up while exhaling.



Relaxation Techniques

Classic Deep Relaxation according to Swami Vishnu-Devananda

Deep Relaxation Position on the back: legs slightly apart, arms away from the body, palms up; head in the middle. If this posture is not quite comfortable in the lower back, you can put cushions, a roll or a rolled blanket under your knees. If the position is not quite comfortable in the upper back or neck, you can put a pillow under the back of your head or a rolled towel in the neck. If possible, it is best to lie directly on the ground. You can also do the «Deep Relaxation» in bed or even in a sitting posture.


Tighten body parts from bottom to top, leave them tense for 5 seconds, let go, trace.


Autosuggestion: Body parts from bottom to top ask to relax: «I relax my feet (repeat 3 times). I relax the calves (3x). I relax my thighs...»


Visualization: Imagine a beautiful area, somewhere in nature, where you can feel completely safe and well. Draw out all the details. The nature around you, the sky, feels the earth under you. Feel one with your surroundings.


Affirmation: Repeat one or more affirmations: «My back feels very well». «My intervertebral discs are strong and flexible». «I am in harmony with myself». «I will do my job joyfully and successfully»; etc. Find what most expresses what you want to achieve.


Breathe deep; stretch and loll. Sit up / stand up.



Relaxation over feeling

(1) Lie on your back in the Relaxation Position.

(2) Sense of heaviness / easiness: Feel the contact points of the body with the ground, first individually from bottom to top: heels, calves, thighs, buttocks, ...

(3) Feel all contact points of the body with the ground at the same time. Breathe in. Feel how you become heavier and seem to sink into the ground between, or feel like you're going easier, seem to float.

(4) Feeling of energy: feel the fingertips. Feel the heat / tingling. Walk with your awareness a few times from the fingers along the arms to the back of the head. Feel fingers, arms, neck and back of the head as a whole. Feel the energy there.

(5) Feel the feet. Feel the heat / tingling. Walk with your awareness a few times from toes along the legs to the lower back. Feel feet / legs / buttocks / lower back as a whole at the same time. Feel the energy there.

(6) Feel feet, hands, shoulders, skullcap at the same time. Feel the energy field around you.

(7) Feeling of expansion. Feel the left-facing parts of the body, first from bottom to top: left foot, left lower leg... . Then feel all the left-facing parts of the body at the same time. Feel the energy radiating to the left. Breathe to the left. Feel how you seem to will get more to the left.

(8) Likewise to the right.

(9) Same upwards. Then feel the expansion and the energy field in all directions. Breathe in all directions. Feel how you seem to expand in all directions. Enjoy this feeling of vastness.

(10) If you wish, repeat mentally a few times: «I am one with the infinite; I am connected to everything». Or just feel the silence, the peace, the relaxation.

(11) Affirmation: Breathe through deeply again. Repeat one or more affirmations: «My back feels very well». «I am in harmony with myself». «I will do my job joyfully and successfully» or similar. Find what most expresses what you want to achieve.

(12) Take a deep breath. Stretch and loll. Sit up / stand up.



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Laya Yoga Deep Relaxation from the Kundalini Yoga


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