Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose) - SharpMuscle
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Advasana, also known as Reverse Corpse Pose, helps align the spine and release tension in the back, promoting better posture and relieving back pain. It also relieves tension in the back, neck and shoulders, promoting muscle relaxation and reducing stiffness.

Information

Known as:Advasana, Reverse Corpse Pose
Sanskrit name:आद्वासन
IAST:ādvāsana
Pronunciation:uhd-vah-suh-nuh
Type:Restorative, relaxation, stretch
Level:Beginner
Focus:Relaxation, grounding
Total time:5 to 10 minutes
Drishti:Eyes closed;
Choose a soft gaze towards the floor
Chakra:Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra),
Indications:Relaxation, align the spine, backache, mindfulness, meditation, tension, restful sleep, nervous system, anxiety, fatigue, acidity, acid reflux, diaphragmatic breathing, nervous system
Counterposes:Child’s Pose (Balasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana), Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Preparatory poses:Child’s Pose (Balasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Supine Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
Follow-up poses:Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana), Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Contraindications:Women during pregnancy, very stiff neck or any kind of injury to the neck, in conditions of acidity and acid reflux, patients with the condition of Inguinal hernia

Meaning

Advasana

The name “Advasana” is a Sanskrit name, which is made of two words — Adva + Asana:

  1. Adva” = “reverse” or “opposite”
  2. Asana” = “pose” or “posture”

Therefore, Advasana can be interpreted as the asana that is the opposite or reverse of the traditional Corpse Pose (Shavasana). While Shavasana is typically performed lying on the back, Advasana is practiced lying on the stomach, with the body facing downwards.

Advasana is often associated with relaxation, grounding, and rejuvenation. The asana provides an opportunity to rest and release tension in the body, promoting a sense of calmness and deep relaxation. It allows practitioners to connect with the earth and turn their attention inward, fostering a state of mental and physical rejuvenation.

Benefits of Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose)

Advasana offers various physical and mental benefits. Individual experiences may vary, and the benefits of this yoga asana can differ for each person. Consistent practice, along with proper alignment and modifications if necessary, can enhance the potential benefits of this asana.

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However, the physical, mental and emotional benefits of Reverse Corpse Pose are listed below:

Physical Benefits:

  • Deep relaxation, helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Helps to align the spine and release tension in the back
  • Promotes the better posture and relieving backache
  • Releases tension in the back, neck, and shoulders
  • Promotes muscle relaxation and reducing stiffness
  • Provides relief from conditions like acidity and acid reflux by allowing the abdominal organs to relax and promoting better digestion
  • Improves diaphragmatic breathing, allowing for deeper and more efficient breaths
  • Promotes a sense of grounding, stability, and connection with the Earth

Mental and Emotional Benefits:

  • Calm the nervous system
  • Reduce stress
  • Promotes the sense of inner peace and relaxation
  • Facilitates turning inward, cultivating mindfulness and present-moment awareness
  • Help clear the mind, enhance mental focus, and promote clarity and alertness
  • Aids in releasing emotional tension, promoting emotional balance, and cultivating a sense of calmness
  • Help prepare the body and mind for a restful sleep

Advasana (Reverse Corpse Pose) Practice Guide

Advasana, where the practitioner lies on their stomach, facing downwards. It is the reverse or opposite position of the traditional Corpse Pose (Shavasana), where one lies on their back.

In Reverse Corpse Pose, the body is stretched out in a prone position, with the legs extended and the feet together. The arms are placed alongside the body, palms facing downward. The forehead and chin can rest on the floor or turned to one side for comfort. The focus is on relaxation and releasing tension in the body.

Advasana is often practiced as an asana of deep relaxation and rejuvenation. It allows for grounding, turning inward, and letting go of physical and mental stress. It can be performed as a standalone asana or as part of a sequence to prepare the body for meditation or as a restorative posture.

Step-by-step Instructions

  1. Start the Advasana posture by assuming a seated position in Vajrasana, also known as the thunderbolt pose.
  2. Transitioning from Vajrasana, extend your arms overhead and initiate a forward bend, gently dragging your torso towards the mat.
  3. Inhale and gradually lift your hips off your heels while keeping your legs straight, moving into a fully prone position where you lie on your stomach. Ensure your legs are straight, and your feet are joined together.
  4. Extend your arms overhead with your palms facing downward, allowing your shoulders to relax.
  5. Place your forehead and chin flat on the floor. Alternatively, you can turn your head to either side to enhance the sense of relaxation in the pose.
  6. Keep your toes together while separating your heels to promote relaxation in your calf muscles. This position also provides relief for the back of the knees and thighs.
  7. Close your eyes then concentrate on the inverted alignment of the following body parts: the soles of the feet, the back of the knees, the thighs, buttocks, lower back, upper back, the back of the neck, and the posterior part of the head.
  8. Shift your focus to your breath, noticing the contraction and relaxation of your abdominal region.
  9. After a few minutes in Advasana, bend your elbows and place your palms beside your chest. Turn your head, forehead, and chin back to rest on the floor.
  10. Gradually lift your upper torso to transition into Sashankasana (Hare pose), and then stand up to relax.
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Common Mistakes

When practicing Advasana, it’s crucial to be mindful of common mistakes to ensure a safe and effective practice. The common mistakes of the Reverse Corpse Pose are explaining below:

  1. Overarching the lower back: Some individuals tend to lift the chest and arch the lower back excessively in Advasana. This can strain the lower back and compress the lumbar spine. To avoid this, focus on lengthening the spine evenly from the tailbone to the crown of the head, maintaining a natural curve in the lower back without excessive arching.
  2. Tension in the neck and shoulders: Holding tension in the neck and shoulders can detract from the relaxation benefits of Reverse Corpse Pose. Ensure that the shoulders are relaxed, away from the ears, and the neck is long. Avoid gripping or tightening the muscles in the neck and shoulders. If needed, use a folded blanket or bolster to support the forehead and chin, alleviating strain in the neck.
  3. Holding the breath: It’s common to unintentionally hold the breath or restrict breathing while in Advasana, especially during moments of deep relaxation. Remember to maintain a steady and smooth breath throughout the asana. Focus on deepening the breath and allowing it to flow naturally, which helps to calm the nervous system and deepen relaxation.
  4. Straining the legs or feet: In Reverse Corpse Pose, ensure that the legs are fully extended, and the feet are relaxed. Avoid forcefully straightening the legs or pointing the toes too strongly, as this can lead to unnecessary tension. Instead, allow the legs to rest naturally with a gentle engagement in the muscles.
  5. Lack of body awareness: It’s important to maintain awareness of the body and its sensations during this yoga asana. This includes being mindful of any discomfort or pain and making adjustments as needed. Pay attention to areas of tension and consciously release and relax those areas.

Modifications and Variations

Modifications and variations in Advasana can be beneficial to accommodate different body types, abilities, and specific needs. The modifications and variations of Revere Corpse Pose are explaining below, approach following modifications and variations with awareness and respect for your body’s limitations.

1. Use of props

Props such as blankets, bolsters, or pillows can provide support and enhance comfort in this asana. Placing a folded blanket or bolster under the torso, hips, or legs can alleviate pressure on certain areas, making the asana more accessible and relaxing. Props can also help maintain proper alignment and prevent strain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or lower back.

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2. Neck and shoulder support

If you have any neck or shoulder issues, placing a folded blanket or small cushion under the forehead and chin can relieve strain and allow for a more comfortable resting position. This modification ensures that the neck is in a neutral position and reduces tension in the upper body.

3. Knee support

For individuals with sensitive knees or discomfort in the lower back, placing a folded blanket or bolster under the shins or knees can provide support and relieve pressure. This modification helps to maintain proper alignment and prevent strain in these areas.

4. Elevated torso

If lying completely flat on the stomach is uncomfortable or not possible, elevating the torso slightly by placing a bolster or stack of blankets under the upper body can be helpful. This modification allows for a gentler stretch in the back and promotes relaxation while reducing strain.

5. Knee bend variation

If keeping the legs fully extended in Reverse Corpse Pose is challenging, you can modify by bending the knees slightly. This modification relieves tension in the hamstrings and lower back, making the pose more accessible and comfortable.

6. One-leg variation

For those who find it difficult to lie on the stomach due to certain conditions or injuries, a one-leg variation can be practiced. In this variation, one leg remains extended, and the other leg is bent at the knee with the foot resting on the ground. This modification allows for a similar sense of grounding and relaxation while accommodating individual needs.

Precautions and Contraindications

Precautions and contraindications are crucial to consider before practicing Advasana. The precautions and contraindications of Reverse Corpse Pose are explaining below:

1. Women during pregnancy

This yoga asana may not be suitable for pregnant women, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Lying flat on the stomach can put pressure on the abdomen and uterus, potentially causing discomfort or harm to the developing baby. It is advisable for pregnant women to consult with their healthcare provider or a qualified prenatal yoga instructor/teacher for appropriate modifications or alternative asanas that are safe during pregnancy.

2. Very stiff neck or any kind of neck injury

Advasana involves resting the forehead and chin on the floor, which can put strain on the neck if it lacks flexibility or has an existing injury. It is crucial to prioritize the safety and comfort of the neck. If you have a stiff neck or any neck injury, it is recommended to avoid Advasana or modify the asana by using a folded blanket or bolster to support the forehead and chin.

3. Conditions of acidity and acid reflux

Reverse Corpse Pose is a prone position where the head is lower than the stomach. This can potentially exacerbate symptoms of acidity or acid reflux in individuals who already experience these conditions. The position can increase the likelihood of acid flowing back up into the esophagus, causing discomfort or irritation. It is advisable to avoid this yoga asana if you have issues with acidity or acid reflux, or consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on suitable modifications or alternative asanas.

4. Patients with the condition of Inguinal hernia

Reverse Corpse Pose may not be appropriate for individuals with an inguinal hernia. This condition involves a protrusion of abdominal contents through the inguinal canal. Lying on the stomach can increase intra-abdominal pressure and potentially worsen the hernia. It is crucial for individuals with inguinal hernia to avoid asanas like Advasana that put strain on the abdominal area and consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on suitable modifications or alternative asanas.

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