Savasana: Ways to Prop Up Your Practice

Savasana (Corpse Pose) is the easiest of all Yoga postures to perform physically, yet is sometimes neglected as being the most important asana within the Hatha Yoga practice.

Savasana is a crucial closing of the physical practice where prana, life-energy, has a moment to become grounded, purposeful and collected. As one practices yoga flows, the yoga postures and breathing saturate the energy channels with prana. To exit a yoga practice (especially an extended one) without Savasana, this powerful energy may leave one with sense of disconnection. With this settling of prana in Savasana, an additional practice of internalizing, connecting and meditative observance can be explored.

The process of conscious relaxation acts as a deep healing for the nervous system, thus can be helpful in reducing stress, tension headaches, and anxiety. Though simple in its application, Savasana can be an uncomfortable Yoga pose to perform for some. The basic position of lying on the back can pose as a challenge and, without being completely comfortable, achieving a state of full relaxation and beneficial healing is diminished.

Tight Hip Flexors and Low Back Tension When you lay flat on the back, the extension of the legs creates a lengthening of the hip flexors (the hip flexors begin at the proximal region of the thigh bone and come across the hip bone to attach at the inner hip crest region and partially at the lower lumbar vertebrae). When the legs lay heavy and the hip flexors are lengthened, a pulling motion is transmitted onto the pelvis and spine. If the hip flexors are tight, a large enough pull can occur on the spine such that the lumbar vertebrae experience a minute, but uncomfortable back-arch effect. This pulling motion on the spine can create an echo of back tension and send negative stimuli into the nervous system.

To reduce the effect of the hip flexors pulling on the lumbar vertebrae and pelvis, simply place a bolster, thick pillows, or a rolled up blanket under the knees. As the legs settle on the support, open the legs wide as well. The opening of the legs and the bend maintained in the knees creates a light outwards rotation of the thighs and reduces the lengthening of the hip flexors. You then basically reduce the distance between the origin and insertion of the hip flexor muscles, thus reducing the muscles' tension acting on the pelvis and spine.

Ways to Prop Up Savasana for Increased Comfort

Halfmoon Yoga Props: Rectangular Bolster, Eye Pillows, Blanket

  • Place the bolster under your knees to support the lower back.
  • Before you settle, lift your pelvis and extend your tail bone toward your heels and lengthen your spine.
  • Lightly slide your shoulder blades more under and down your back to enhance the expansion of the chest and anterior shoulders
  • Gently place an eye pillow over the eyes and temples.  The weight of the eye pillow creates a sense of ease and release in your facial muscles.
  • For an increased sense of grounding, place an eye pillow in the palm of each hand, or on each wrist depending on your comfort.
  • You can also use a blanket to cover yourself for added comfort and warmth. Once your body stops moving, the heat generated from the yoga class begins to dissipate.  Most people find that a cold body reacts with muscle tension and resistance.

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