1. Lying on your back, let the arms and legs drop open, with the arms about 45 degrees from the side of your body. Make sure you are warm and comfortable, if you need to place blankets under or over your body.
2. Close the eyes, and take slow deep breaths through the nose. Allow your whole body to become soft and heavy, letting it relax into the floor. As the body relaxes, feel the whole body rising and falling with each breath.
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3. Scan the body from the toes to the fingers to the crown of the head, looking for tension, tightness and contracted muscles. Consciously release and relax any areas that you find. If you need to, rock or wiggle parts of your body from side to side to encourage further release.
4. Release all control of the breath, the mind, and the body. Let your body move deeper and deeper into a state of total relaxation.
5. Stay in Shavasana for 5 to 15 minutes.
6. To release: slowly deepen the breath, wiggle the fingers and toes, reach the arms over your head and stretch the whole body, exhale bend the knees into the chest and roll over to one side coming into a fetal position. When you are ready, slowly inhale up to a seated position.
Benefits + Contraindications
Benefits: Corpse pose is essential to practice at the end of every yoga practice. This posture rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit while reducing stress and tension.
Contraindications: Third trimester of pregnancy.
Modifications + Variations
Modifications: Place a bolster or blankets under the low back and/or knees.
Corpse pose is traditionally practiced at the end of a yoga sequence. It can however be used at the beginning to calm the body before practice or in the middle of a sequence to rest. When used at the end of a yoga practice it is traditionally followed by a seated meditation period to re-integrate the body-mind-spirit back into the world.