Updated: Sep 5, 2022
One of the most delicious poses in a yoga class is Savasana, also known as Corpse pose. It is also considered one of the most important poses in an asana practice and you would often hear teachers asking you not to skip it as its meaning goes far beyond a short nap or cool down. It has been called “the most difficult pose to master”.
The essence of this pose lies in remaining conscious and present in a state of deep relaxation. However, lying flat on the back isn't always comfortable for some people so Savasana ends up not feeling restful and nourishing. This could be due to a variety of reasons including:
• A pronounced tailbone that presses against the floor
• Back and/neck issues
• Feeling dizzy in a lying down position
• The position triggers uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, fear or vulnerability
It is acceptable to make adjustments to one’s position in order to make this pose a grounding and supportive one. Some ideas are outlined below according to some common scenarios.
1) Have a protruding tailbone or any bony protrusions in the back that produces a sharp sensation when lying down:
Place a blanket or towel under the hips to create a padding for the back.
Bending the knees may also be helpful for some people.
Padding can be placed under any part of the body that needs more support.
2）Feel back strain while lying flat:
Bend the knees with feet on the mat. The position of one’s feet and knees can be adjusted. My personal preference is feet apart with knees gently touching.
o Placing a bolster or rolled up blanket or towel under the knees can provide additional support and invite greater relaxation.
3) Have neck issues and need to prop your head up while lying down:
Place a cushion, block or rolled up blanket under your head as a makeshift pillow. This may also help people who feel dizzy in this position.
4) Are pregnant:
Turn to lay on your side. It is generally suggested for expectant mothers to lay on the left to allow optimal blood flow to the fetus and keep weight off the liver
5) Feel uncomfortable feelings rise
Some people find it helpful to cover themselves with blankets, a bolster or something with weight but is safe, to aid in grounding. A weighty eye pillow may also add a nice touch.
Place hands on the belly and/or heart instead of by the side
If closing the eyes is triggering, the gaze can be softly placed on a spot in the ceiling
Turn to lay on the side
Come to seated meditation if lying down is truly uncomfortable
The above are only some ideas that one can try in the exploration of this important pose. Get creative and use anything you need to settle down. Most teachers are quite understanding if you need to make adjustments for your poses especially if you let them know in advance so don't be shy! They may also have good ideas to suggest based on the information you provide so communicating with your teacher would be key.
Hence, make all the adjustments you need but please make time for this pose at the end of each practice. May your savasana not only bring you peace but also be a journey of rebirth every time!