The yogic tradition sustains that real yoga cannot exist without relaxation, because in its absence, happiness and inner peace are not possible.
Swami Sivananda’s words about relaxation were: "only a relaxed person is truly creative, as the ideas simply flow to him."
However, in yoga, relaxation should be used as a key component in the process of the practitioner’s energetic regeneration. Consequently, learning to relax in a conscious manner, for at least couple of minutes every day is very important in the practice of yoga.
For the people discovering the yoga relaxation for the first time, this discovery is almost a revelation. First, the body is heavy, lying on the floor, while the mind seems to travel to wonderful places, detached from all physical problems.
The yogic relaxation is the ideal exercise for one’s will. In the yogic view, the will is not a dictatorship, or a tough power that imposes itself with force, but a slow, firm suggestion, based on conviction and patience.
Consequently, while practicing SHAVASANA you should not attempt to impose the relaxation upon yourself, or to exert control over your mind. You will notice that the relaxation has to be performed without any constraint or aggression.
The relaxation makes the practitioner gain a calm and beautiful appearance. The face is relaxed, and he or she, as a whole, emanates calm and inner peace.
PRELIMINARY CONDITIONS FOR THE RELAXATION
It is recommended that you eliminate all factors that may excite the senses. Go inside a quiet room, where you may remain undisturbed. Close the windows and create a semi-obscure atmosphere. Make sure the room is warm, as your body’s temperature drops during the relaxation.
Take your mind off all the stressful problems at home, or at work, then lie down on the floor. Stretch your entire body and even yawn if possible. Continue to stretch your body as you roll over to the right and then on your left.
Tense all your muscles and stretch your fingers. After the stretching and contraction of the muscles, you are now ready to embark on the next phase: the relaxation.
Lie on your back, with your head towards the North or East, feet and arms spread.
Focus on your left leg. Begin the relaxation with the toes, relaxing in turn all muscular groups. Perceive fine vibrations or a sensation of warmth in the area you have relaxed. Compare the left leg with the right one.
Relax the right leg. Continue the relaxation in the same manner: the left and the right arm, then the buttocks, the pelvis, the abdomen, the solar plexus, the back, the shoulders, the chest, the neck, the chin, the cheeks, the tongue, the eyes, the forehead, and the scalp.
You should no longer precisely perceive the contour of your body. Instead, you should perceive your consciousness expanding, and you should experience a state of unifying harmony.