Savasana: Corpse Pose
Rest arms comfortably away from body, palms up. Place feet shoulder-width apart, allowing them to fall out. Relax everywhere.
Savasana 5- Step Process
Erich Schiffmann offers a 5-step process described in Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness 1996 p 296.
Neutralize or Prep for Other Poses
We’ve used the term “Active Savasana” to refer to the supine position shown above that is the basic shape of Savasana but may include more active muscle engagement (such as aligning legs and activating feet, for instance). This may be used as a preparatory step before supine poses such as Supta Padangusthasana, for example, or as a neutralizing pose.
Propping to Support Relaxation
Primary areas to consider supporting student are under knees, neck and head. To determine whether more support is called for, identify areas not in contact with the floor or otherwise continuing to hold tension. For students whose feet hang in air when knees are supported, for example, place blanket under heels. See the online Asana Digest for more.
Savasana with Blanket
Provide Warmth, Weight, Comfort
Face Down Savasana
Place legs hip-width apart, toes turned out, heels in. Another option is to reach opposite shoulders rather than elbows, resting head in crook of elbows. Abdomen rests on floor; upper chest slightly elevated. See also: Yoga International article.
Legs Up the Wall – No Pelvic Support
This version, with no pelvic support, may be useful if no props are available or there is discomfort with prop. Keep hips square. Both buttocks touch wall, or if hamstrings are stretching rather than relaxing, move away from wall. Let tailbone release toward floor. Rest backs of shoulders on floor. Open chest. Options here could include a blanket under torso and roll under neck or head as appropriate for different students. If feet or legs begin to tingle or fall asleep, see if bending knees slightly helps, or come out of pose. (Baxter Bell) After releasing legs, pause before coming out completely.
Legs Up the Wall – Elevated Pelvis
This variation can be used for increasing inversion effect, for tight knees, or for intensifying back arch. Place bolster or blanket a few inches from wall. Lower height of prop is there is low back or sacrum discomfort. Sit on end of prop with side body to wall. Take inside arm to floor to roll back. Let sit bones fall away between wall & bolster. Ensure pelvis is even. You may wish to advise feet hip distance apart. To increase the restorative effect, place strap around thighs, above knees; the strap holds legs in place, allowing more release. Relax arms away from body, palms up. Close eyes.
Legs in a “V” Shape
Viparita Karani with Chair
Supported Inversion with Chair
If there is hip, low back or leg discomfort in Legs Up the Wall, this can serve as an alternative. As with Legs Up the Wall, sit with side to chair, knees bent, feet on floor. Swing calves up to chair as hands walk torso down to floor. Adjust closer or further away for comfort. Can also add blanket under legs and under torso or neck. May wish to place sandbag or blanket on belly.