What is Śavāsana?

Śavāsana is most popularly known as a haṭha yoga posture that completes the sequence of many modern yoga classes. A compound of the Sanskrit words śava (शव), meaning "corpse" and āsana (आसन), meaning "seat," it is commonly referred to in English as “corpse pose.”

One of the first references we see to śavāsana occurs in a fifteenth century text, the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā (1.32), which states “Lying on the back on the ground like a corpse is Shavasana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind.”1 However, prior to the emergence of haṭha yoga as a distinct tradition, śavāsana was a key practice of layayoga, the “yoga of dissolution.” A text from the 12th century tells us that this form of yoga aimed to dissol

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