288: Shavasana (śavāsana) with Indu Arora

Shavasana (śavāsana) is the final resting pose of almost every yoga practice but how much do we really know about and understand it? We may think of it as being a pose of resting or relaxation to cool off after a vigorous asana practice but it is much more than that. Indu Arora shares more.

Indu Arora considers herself a lifelong student and has spent the last 2 decades of her life studying, thinking and sharing Yoga and Ayurveda. She is a renowned author of SOMA – 100 Heritage Recipes for Self-Care, Yoga – Ancient Heritage, Tomorrow’s Vision, and Mudra: The Sacred Secret. She is a firm believer that “yoga is not to be learnt and done but explored and realized” and embodies this in her own life and practice. Indu travels extensively within the United States, Canada, Europe and India to teach and speak on Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Ayurveda and Mudras and her unique gift is in making Yoga and Ayurveda a practice which is equally useful for beginners as well as for seasoned seekers. 

In this interview, we learn the correct Sanskrit pronunciation of Shavasana (and other asana!) and explore why the Sanskrit pronunciation is so important. Indu shares insights on what we are missing about Shavasana and the true purpose of this pose – as a preparation for death. Indu also answers some common questions we often encounter about Shavasana, such as how long it should be, and if it is okay to fall asleep during Shavasana. Indu offers some deep reflective questions for us to contemplate around why we practice yoga and how we can find, share, and face the truth through yoga. This is a great episode to listen to before your next yoga practice or before you do shavasana.

Key Takeaways:

[3:48] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Indu Arora.

[8:06] What does Indu do and who does she do it for?

“Yoga is not to be done, it is to be explored and realized. It is a state of being, it is a state of mind, it is a state of emotions, it is a state of breath, all of this.” ~ Indu Arora

[9:24] Indu believes that “Yoga is not to be learnt and done but explored and realized.” What does this mean?

[13:07] When did Indu’s journey with yoga start?

[17:58] What is the Sanskrit pronunciation of Shavasana? Indu explains why pronunciation matters. 

“It is a rehearsal for death.” ~ Indu Arora

[24:32] If you are interested in learning more about asana names and meanings, check out Indu’s book, Yoga – Ancient Heritage, Tomorrow’s Vision.

[25:38] What does Shavasana mean and what are we missing about it?

“Shavasana is the practice of Pratyahara, it’s a conscious letting go.” ~ Indu Arora

[31:36] Shannon pops in with a message about the sponsor, OfferingTree.

[35:33] People have some resistance in thinking about death and dying. How can we approach teaching about Shavasana and deal with that resistance?

[40:20] What elements could yoga teachers incorporate to build more of a practice like this?

[42:34] Indu invites us to consider why we are practicing yoga each time we do it, and to ask ourselves if we are becoming robotic in our approach.

“Yoga is not a feel-good practice, it is a face-the-truth practice.” ~ Indu Arora

[45:17] How long does Shavasana need to be? Does it always need to be at the end?

[53:13] Learn more from Indu and connect with her via her website, and social media.

[55:09] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this conversation with Indu.

“What is the purpose of yoga and why are you sharing and why are you studying about it? And why are you thinking about it? Do not lose that focus.” ~ Indu Arora


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