The yoga corpse pose is also known as the dead man's pose or Shavasana or Mritasana in Sanskrit. In a nutshell, it's basically the equivalent of lying down without moving and relaxing your muscles. Sounds easy?
It is but you will soon realize that it can be quite tricky to remain in this position for an extended period of time without allowing your mind to wander or your muscles to contract.
Start by lying down on your yoga mat with your back on the mat. Keep your legs relatively straight without forcing them to stay straight. Keep your feet about 30 cm (1 foot) apart.
Keep your arms at a comfortable distance from your body. Most people find it comfortable to leave them at 20 degrees from your body or the equivalent of having your hands about 15 or 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) away from your body.
Keep your palms facing the ceiling. Let your fingers rest in a comfortable position.
If you have neck problems or find the position uncomfortable, feel free to use a pillow or a folded blanket. Try to keep your face centered and not to let your head fall to one side. The spine should be straight all the way to your head.
Breathe in and out and relax all the muscles of your body. If you need help concentrating on your breathing, you can try to count the breaths in a different language (if you're lucky enough to know a second or third language) or try to count backwards from 50.
As you can imagine, the corpse pose is great for those who want to relax. It can also be practiced as you get ready for bed. Lying still in bed while relaxing your muscles and focusing on your breathing will help your mind wind down and get ready for a good night sleep.
This asana can also be used to relax after more intense asanas or whenever you feel crabby, tired or nervous. This yoga corpse pose and other yoga poses are great relaxation tools.