Modifying Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana is probably the one pose known more by its Sanskrit name, than by its English equivalent.  And I would argue understandably so.  Savasana sounds relaxing when you say it – its English name, Corpse pose, just sounds a little too morbid for most of us to be able to relax into. 

But regardless of the name you use, Savasana is often the most popular part of any yoga class – a fact that shouldn’t surprise you.  Savasana is that final relaxation period when the body and mind can completely relax, something we don’t do much of in our society despite the fact that our bodies and minds desperately need that kind of quiet, relaxation time.

But let’s talk today specifically about how to modify Savasana so it can be as relaxing as possible.  Let’s face it, lying on the floor doesn’t always feel so relaxing.  So how can we modify the pose so our bodies and minds can enjoy those final few minutes of class? 

To put it mildly, there are a lot of options.  This blog will highlight a handful of options but know this is not an exhaustive list of ideas.  Let’s begin with modifying Savasana when you are lying on the floor…

Modifications to Savasana when lying on the floor:

  1. Place a bolster or pillow under your knees (this helps with potential discomfort in the low back especially).
  2. Place a pillow or blanket under your head.
  3. Use an eye pillow to block out bright and/or overhead lights in the room.
  4. If you have back issues or are pregnant, you may find lying on your one side with a pillow or block between your knees to be more comfortable.
  5. If you get chilly, consider adding a blanket or sweater prior to settling into Savasana.
  6. Place blocks or folded blankets under your arms to elevate them (placing less stress on your shoulders)
  7. If lying on the floor is not an option for you, try Savasana in a chair (see below for modifications for this version of Savasana)

Modifications to Savasana when sitting in a chair:

  1. Have your feet flat on the floor… if your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor, place your blocks under your feet
  2. Place a blanket or small cushion on the chair to sit on if the surface is too hard or uncomfortable
  3. Drape a blanket over you if you get chilly
  4. Set the back of your chair close to a wall so your head can lean back slightly against the wall – you can put a small pillow or folded blanket behind your head for extra cushion against the wall if you wish
  5. Experiment with different chairs until you find the one that fits you best (height from the floor, width and depth of the seat area, angle of the back of the chair, etc.)

If you are uncomfortable in Savasana it becomes much more difficult to relax.  Your mind will be distracted by the parts of your body that are experiencing pain or discomfort.  Get the most out of your final relaxation period by playing around with different modifications until you find a recipe that works best for you.  Relax and enjoy yogis!  Namaste.

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