Of all the yog asanas shavasana is the most underrated. It is not very interesting, no gymnastic contortions are required, no muscles lining up to create postures impossible for the lay man . Then why bother with it? But bother we must not only for the various benefits but also because it forms the basis for many spiritual practices.
During a yoga session shavasana may be used at various intervals. In the beginning to centre our awareness and prepare for asanas to come;in the middle to remove the effects of fatigue;and at the end to calm the mind and to relax.
What does it mean to relax? During stressful situations our autonomic nervous system goes into red alert-fight or flight .This impacts the maintainence and restorative functions of our nervous systems including endocrine, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems. Imagine what must be happening to them when we live constantly under stress! We do not give our body an opportunity to rest and heal.
The corpse pose, or the shavasana, helps bring the body back to its' restorative mode.By going into the mode of relaxation we free the energy which was formerly locked up due to stress.This energy is then integrated and distributed throughout the body. The access to this untapped energy also gives us as access to the unconscious and we can then tap into the deeper levels of our being.This also is the foundation for meditation.To relax is to let go, drop the effort and just be.The eyes are closed. Breathing is deep and through the abdomen. Slow and steady breathing leads to deeper relaxation. Become fully aware of the present. Make the mind passive yet alert. It watches yet remains undisturbed.When this happens peace and serenity follows.