Corpse Pose (Sava asana or Kayotsarga)
The first step of meditation is Sava asana, that is relaxation with body-awareness. Keep your body steady, relaxed and free from tension. Keep your spine and neck straight but without stiffness. Relax all the muscles of your body. Let your body become limp.
Practice steadiness of body at least for 10 minutes. Keep your body completely steady, as motionless as a statue. Do not allow the limbs of your body to move. No movement at all.
Shava asana has two implications–complete relaxation of the body and self-awareness. For achieving complete relaxation of the body, mentally divide it into several parts and concentrate your mind on each part of the body one by one, from feet to head. Allow your mind to spread in the whole part–allow it to undertake a trip in the whole part; use the technique of auto-suggestion to relax the whole part and experience the resulting relaxation. Experience that each and every muscle, each and every nerve has become relaxed. And in the same way attain, the relaxation of the whole body. Use deep concentration and remain completely alert. Practice Shava Asana.
Detailed Instructions for Relaxation:
Starting with the big toe of your right foot, concentrate your mind on it. Allow your mind to spread throughout the big toe. Suggest to the muscles and nerves to relax. Relax….. Relax….. Relax…..Experience that they are relaxing. Experience that they have become relaxed. In the same way, attain relaxation of the other parts of the right limb–the other toes, sole, heel, ankle, upper part of the foot, calf-muscles, knee, thigh, upto the hip-joint. In the same way relax the left limb upto the hip-joint. Experience that the whole of the lower portion of the body has become completely relaxed.
Now achieve the relaxation of the middle portion of the body from the waist upto the neck. Concentrate your mind on each part one by one starting with the lower abdomen, relax the front, the back, the right side, the left side, the outside and the inside of your lower abdomen. Similarly relax the upper abdomen– the front, the back, the right side, the left side, the outside and the inside of your upper abdomen. Now through your navel enter the abdominal cavity and relax the large intestine, the small intestine, the kidneys, the spleen, the liver, the pancreas, the stomach and the diaphragm. Use autosuggestion and achieve
relaxation. Then concentrate your mind on the chest and relax the entire rib-cage. Beginning with the lowest rib, relax each and every rib in turn. Relax the front ribs, the back ribs, the right ribs and the left ribs. Now enter the chest and relax the right lung, the left lung and the heart by auto-suggestion. (Those who have got any heart trouble should pause here for a few minutes and by auto-suggestion slow down the heart to remove stress.) Now achieve the relaxation of the neck muscles in the front and in the back. Then concentrate your mind on both the hands and arms one by one; starting from the thumb, relax the fingers, the palm, the wrist, the lower arm, the elbow, the upper arm and the shoulder. Experience that the whole of the middle portion of your body has become completely relaxed. Now achieve the relaxation of the upper portion of body from throat upto the head. Here we have come to a bit more difficult part of the exercise. So far you were relaxing large muscles which respond quickly to your suggestion. But now we have to relax a large number of small and tiny muscles which are difficult to relax. First unclench your teeth and unlock your jaws and let your tongue go limp. Keep your lips softly closed. Now relax all the facial muscles; beginning with the chin, relax the lips, the inner portion of the mouth including the teeth, the gums, the palate and the tongue; then relax the cheeks, the nose, the ears and the temples, both the eyes, the forehead and the scalp, through auto-suggestion. Experience that the whole of your upper portion of the body has become completely relaxed. Again allow your mind to travel from the head upto the feet and from the feet upto the head; this time rather quickly and see that there is no tension anywhere in the body. Experience that the whole body from the feet upto the head has become completely relaxed. Maintain the posture of Shava asana throughout the meditation session. Try to keep your body completely steady and motionless. Now practice inner silence at least for five minutes through relaxation of the vocal cords (voice box). Concentrate your mind on the voice box inside the throat and completely relax it. Observe complete inner silence. There should be no vibrations in the voice box.
Meditation Master (New Delhi)