When people think of easy yoga poses one that comes to mind is savasana, corpse pose. However as a yoga teacher I’d say it is quite often the most difficult for most people. Why? Because people have to stop think and just BE. Lying on the floor in silence for 5-10 minutes can be uncomfortable for some people, both physically and mentally. In this post we’ll cover how to do savasana, and how to make it more comfortable.
How to do savasana
Traditionally savasana is done on lying supine on the floor with the arms and legs a comfortable distance apart. The eyes close and you allow the body and mind to fall into deep relaxation. Sounds easy and you might find it so. But as a yoga teacher I see people twitching, moving and not relaxing in savasana and it saddens me. This is ONE TIME out of your day you have permission to do absolutely nothing, and it’s a struggle. Sometimes this just might be emotional trauma but typically it’s because people are uncomfortable laying on their backs on the floor. So I decided to share more ways of how to do savasana. Specifically to make it more comfortable. I even made a video about it.
Getting comfortable in savasana
So the first thing to mention is that the legs don’t have to be straight. If you have any low back pain you might want to explore knees bent and feet on the floor. Allowing the knees to drop inwards towards each other can help alleviate some of the “work” required to hold the legs up.
Personally I find lying on a hard surface for 5-10 minutes uncomfortable on my pelvis. So I have a blanket on my mat to add a little extra cushion. If you don’t have a blanket, then a towel would work also.
Avoiding Neck Strain
In the description of how to do savasana nothing is mentioned about the head and neck and in today’s society I see a lot of head forward which can translate to the floor. While on the ground this often presents itself as chin up higher than the forehead. Typically this can feel like tightness or stretching in the front of the neck.
The solution for this is to place a folded blanket, towel or shallow pillow under the head. This raises the head into a more supported position for the individual with head forward syndrome.
Using a bolster for support
I’m all about comfort in savasana and a great fix for any body part that’s not feeling 100% relaxed is to add support. The head is supported so the neck might feel better but what about the legs. If you have a bolster it’s a great prop for the legs using it under the knees to both support the legs and ground the femur.
If you don’t have bolster a similar effect can be done with blocks using them behind the knees to allow a slight elevation to the legs. I would also suggest using a towel/blanket over the blocks to soften the edges a little.
If you have a bolster and a block then both can be used to create a slight ramp for the bolster. Allowing the bolster to naturally form to the angle required for comfortable support. It’s important to support the KNEES rather than the thighs.
Taming the Temperature
If you’re anything like me I’d rather be too hot than too cold. I REALLY dislike being cold. If the yoga studio is cold I always grab an extra blanket and throw that over me in savasana. My favorite is when the teacher comes around and tucks it in, making me snug as a bug.
Even in Summer my feet can be freezing so I’ll often wear socks in savasana or just wrap my lower leg in a blanket. Burrito style! I’m serious when I say yoga blankets changed my whole relationship in how to do savasana. No longer do I just lie on the floor. Typically now I’m supported and covered to allow my mind and body to fully relax.
A personal favorite
A more restorative way to do savasana is to elevate the legs. Again supporting the back of the knees and lower leg on a chair or ‘stonehenge’ made from blocks and a bolster. Of all the ways to do savasana, this is my absolute favorite. Add in a burrito leg wrap and I’m in heaven!
I hope I’ve made you realize that when it comes to the question of “How to do savasana” it’s not really a simple answer as we all need different things. So next time you’re in savasana ask yourself if you are truly comfortable! If not, what can you do to make things more comfy?
If you’d like to learn more about yoga I suggest a couple of my other posts on practicing yoga vs asana, and 12 benefits of a yoga practice. If you have any questions regarding yoga please leave them in the comments!
Do you practice yoga?
Have you thought about just spending 5 minutes a day on the floor in savasana?
Which of the above methods of savasana would be your favorite?
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I love your article, thank you. I’ll be practicing and sharing with others. Blessings and peace to your team, keep up the excellent work.
I have been wanting to take up Yoga. I have heard of a few poses but not done them myself. It’s good to know how to do this one properly – I didn’t realise that you could get neck strain from yoga.
Easy to get neck strain from yoga poses done incorrectly.
i love yoga! i am too active, and my biggest challenge is calming my mind. =)
Then you need savasana more than most!
in my yoga class I used to attend we always finished our sessions with this, it was AMAZING!!! I practice it at home as much as I can… And my soul thanks me for it ; )
For sure, it’s the best way to end a yoga practice!
Nikki A. Hall
Yoga is such a great way to relax!! I love corpse pose at the end of yoga.
ah, savasana.. I recently wrote a post about how I cannot do savasana to save my life. Racing thoughts and omg I need to get up right away kind of thing. I will give it another go, you make it sound lovely!
Yes it seems an easy pose to do, but it’s not about the body it’s about the mind!
I have a hard time remaining still and just be because my mind is always racing. I think Savasana could have been a challenge for me. I went to a conference the other day and they were talking about the benefits of Yoga, I am planning to take some classes in the summer.
Great glad to hear you’re planning on starting a yoga practice!
I always have a towel or something under my head. But lately I have been doing belly savasana. It’s made a difference with how long I can let go of everything. Savasana is definitely the best thing after practice.
Yes! Glad you found a variation that works for you!
Savasana is my favourite part of yoga, especially after a particularly challenging class. It really clears my mind.
Yes it’s great for just taking a quick reboot!
Yoga is my favorite workiu because it’s so versatile. You can tone, you can trim, you can loose weight, you can relax your mind. When I get through a yoga workout, I can’t wait for this pose! Great post!
That’s when you know the poses and flow have worked. We do the flow to relax into savasana and then meditation.
Yoga is hard stuff to do right. Love the pose and the step by step images too x
It’s knowing what’s right for YOUR body that is the tricky part! We’re all different and need different things
Yes yes yes! Savasana is definitely easier said than done 🙂
It is. Telling people to relax in today’s world can be impossible!
Using a booster for my legs and support for my neck would really help. I find it very uncomfortable to lay on a flat surface.
Yep it would help! Get comfy girl!
Lois Alter Mark
I am not good at yoga at all but I love Savasana! I always look forward to those few minutes to just lying there, relaxing and being present!
Yep! I’ve seen a tank that says “just here for the savasana!”
This is making me miss my community yoga classes! They canceled them this year due to low participation. I always loved Savasana. It was a great way to calm down at the end of a session and have a few minutes to just be still. I’ve always laid straight on the floor, I never thought of any of these modifications. And also, I am with you, I would much rather be hot than cold, that’s why I live in South Texas!!
Hahaha I moved from England to Southern California!