The Savasana Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Savasana Shapes Tutorial

20 min - Tutorial


Alana provides a tutorial on five possible shapes of Savasana (Corpse Pose), guiding us into each of them to experiment with what may feel best in your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Square Bolster, Blanket, Strap

About This Video


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Chapter 1

Classic Corpse Pose

Welcome to our Shavasana challenge. In this tutorial we're going to look at five possible shapes of Shavasana. It's not so easy to lie down so join me in finding a shape that works best for your body. So the first one is classic corpse pose and you might want to lay a blanket out so you have some support underneath your body between you and your sticky mat. First step, lie down and then interlace your fingers. Bring your fingers behind your skull and draw your elbows towards each other and gently lengthen the back of your neck. Feel the sense of tractioning through the back of the neck and then as you release your arms draw your shoulder blades down your back. It's kind of snuggle the shoulder blades down. Feel that length through the back of the neck. See what it feels like to let your palms open towards the sky and bring your feet a little wider apart than usual. And notice if your feet want to turn out and just allow your feet to naturally externally rotate, feeling that through your pelvis and your hips. And then together let's take an exhalation and let's see if that helps the back of the body release a bit more towards the earth. And pay attention notice how this shape feels through your lower back. There's any strain happening or if it feels quite natural and comfortable. See if you can allow your eyes to soften and allow the back of the heart to feel supported. Perhaps feeling support through your pelvis and your sacrum. Relaxing any effort through the muscles and allowing the bones to be heavy. Stay with this for just a few more moments. Okay. And then as you're ready just gradually invite movement back into your body, your fingers, and your toes. And it feels pretty good to stretch the arms overhead and lengthen. And then allowing your knees to bend and rolling to your side. We'll spend some time here on the side just pausing. Just allow yourself to curl up and rest. When you're ready use your hands and your arms.

Keep the weight of your head heavy as you make your way up. So that was classic corpse. Now we're going to look at our second shape, constructive rest. You'll want a blanket and a strap for that. So now we'll look at constructive rest pose. You'll want a strap for this. And the purpose of the

Chapter 2

Constructive Rest Pose

strap is to help the hip flexors relax a little bit and to create a bit more space through the pelvis. So let's try it together. I have mine preset. So you'll create a loop and you'll bring the loop around the thighs. Try the mid thighs first. And you'll want to have a folded blanket nearby. And start by rolling onto your back. So it's like a supported bridge to come into it. You'll press through your feet, lift your pelvis up and then bring your blanket right underneath your pelvis. So it's supporting your sacrum. And now I find here it takes a little bit of time to find the right distance for the strap. So you'll want to find what works for you and you might play with it here. So with the strap right in the mid thigh area, you can bring the feet about hips width apart, a little further away from your pelvis. Finding a position that feels neutral, again, where your hip flexors can begin to relax. And it can take a little bit of time here to really feel the back of the sacrum relax, feel the outer hips relax, feel the legs as if they're falling or softening into the strap. So the strap isn't like confining your legs, but it's offering an appropriate amount of support. And then check in with the back of your eyes with the jaw. Usually with the eyes and the jaw and the pelvis and the hips begin to relax that usually that's a sign that it's in the right spot. Again, take some time with this. If it still feels that this point that there's effort happening through your legs or through your hips, you might adjust the strap bringing it either a little wider or closer together. The key is to really find the spot that works for you that feels best. This is going to be unique for each person. Right here I find with the knees bent, it tends to offer a bit more support through the lower back. There's less strain than when the legs are straight. Okay, so you're welcome to stay here a bit longer when you feel ready to transition onto the next shape. Bend your knees, remove the strap, press through the feet, bring the blanket off to the side. Just roll onto your side and pause there. And then keeping the weight of the head heavy using your arms, just slowly press yourself up. So that was constructive rest pose. The third shape we'll look at is a supported relaxation. You want a blanket and a bolster for this. Now we'll look at supported relaxation. And this is a shape that I use most

Chapter 3

Supported Relaxation

of the time and that I use most often in the Shavasana challenge. I just find it's just quite comfortable. So you'll bring a bolster underneath the knees that will support the low back and then a blanket under the head. If you have an extra blanket, you can also roll it and bring it on top of your bolster for extra comfort. Let's see how it feels. Extend your legs over the bolster and then lie down. You want the blanket underneath your head and then wiggle your shoulder blades down your back. Allow the back of your neck to lengthen and then release your arms. Oh, this is nice. Just allow for an inhale and nice full exhale. Allow your exhalation to encourage the back of your body to release towards the earth. Just notice how this shape and support feels through your neck, your shoulders, your low back, your pelvis, your legs. And it can feel nice to bring the legs a little wider than the hips. Just allow the legs to naturally externally rotate, the palms turn up. And take a few moments and study the feeling and sensation through the body in this one. You feel supported. All right. So you're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. Be forever. Whenever you feel ready, bend your knees. And a nice transition is to bring the soles of the feet together, knees wide. So this is just a nice benefit to having a bolster, a little elevated bada konasana for support. Just rolling on to your side. Again, nice long pause. And pressing your hands into the earth. Keep your head heavy and slowly press yourself up. So that was supported relaxation with a bolster and a blanket. Now we're going to move into an elevated, we call this waterfall pose, using a chair and a blanket. And perhaps a bolster. The next shape we'll look

Chapter 4

Elevated Waterfall

at is elevated waterfall pose. Grab a chair. Preferably a chair you can bring your legs through. You can also use a couch, which is awesome. You'll want a blanket on top of your chair, which can feel very cozy. And then a bolster. We'll bring the bolster underneath our pelvis, supporting our sacrum. And if you have another blanket, bringing it under the head can feel quite nice. So I'll show one possible way to come into it. So you'll want to bring yourself up on your bolster. Bring your pelvis up. Stay to your side. And then you lead with the top leg, and you let the bottom leg follow. And then you want to wiggle a bit, readjust. The main thing is to have the back of your knees resting on the chair or your couch. And you want an angle that feels quite comfortable, again, through the hip flexors, through your pelvis. It's around a 90 degree angle. You want to make sure your blanket is rolling over the edge of the chair, so it's supporting the back of your knees. It's just a tiny little detail. And then having the bolster underneath the pelvis feels quite awesome. You don't need a bolster, but it can be nice to have it, having a blanket under your head. And for this one, I find having the head lower and creating a slight roll to support the cervical curve in the neck feels comfortable. And you want to draw your shoulder blades down your back, and then extend the arms out, let the palms open. Let's take a nice full exhale together, allowing the back of the body to release towards the support. So the props are designed to literally hold and support the body as we move towards this conscious relaxation. So allow the weight of your legs to release into the chair or your couch. You allow it to feel a bit more spacious for your pelvis and your hips. And we'll spend a few moments here. You pay attention, notice how it feels through your lower back, through your sacrum, through your pelvis, through your hips. Oftentimes I find in this shape, it's slightly more energizing and a little bit more invigorating. So if you're taking your Shavasana at the end of your day, this can be a nice way to just draw some blood and circulation down through the body, from the feet down into the pelvis and the heart. I really love this one. You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. When you're ready to transition, you can bend your knees and then roll to your side. It can be a bit awkward with the bolster there. Again, keeping the weight of your head heavy, keep your eyes soft and using your hands to press yourself up. So that was elevated waterfall with the support of a chair or your couch. We're going to look at our final shape, Shavasana prone. So for this, you'll want a bolster and a blanket or two. Our fifth possible shape of

Chapter 5


Shavasana is prone. You'll want to bolster a rolled blanket and if you happen to have a sandbag or a cat nearby, you can use that to help ground and support the sacrum and the pelvis. It feels quite good. So what you'll do is you'll bring the blanket underneath the top of the ankles and then you'll want your pelvis, the bony landmarks of the pelvis at the edge of your bolster and then you're going to lengthen over it. So your knees are bent and you'll want to kind of play with it, readjust the blanket so it's supporting the top of the ankles. Your feet can relax and then finding a comfortable position for your head. So maybe for your neck, having your head facing down feels best or maybe turning your head to one side feels nice. You might just keep your arms alongside your body.

You can also lengthen your arms down and with your sandbag, again if you happen to have one, bring the sandbag right to your sacrum area. If you have a friend nearby that can help with that, again or your kitty cat at home, just have it sit right there. And it can just offer sometimes having a little bit of weight can help the body relax a little bit more. So see here in this shape, if you can allow the front of your body to receive the support of the bolster and softening the eyes, the jaw, allowing your low back and your sacrum to widen. I find sometimes in this position, this prone position, it can lend itself to the softening of the sensory awareness or tuning of the sensory awareness inward, allowing the eyes to soften. You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. When you're ready, you can remove if you have one your sandbag or your kitty. I think for this it usually feels nice the transition out is through a child's pose. Drawing the hips back towards the heels and releasing the forehead towards the support. When you're ready, bring your hands underneath your shoulders and then just slowly press your way up. So I hope this tutorial has given you some ideas possible shapes for your Shavasana. Let us know what you find works best for you. Love to hear from you. See you soon. Namaste.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
What a lovely challenge this will be! When I first began yoga, I loved the beautiful guided savasanas my teacher would lead us through. Later, when I began my home practice, I started to feel antsy during final rest and eventually started skipping it altogether.

Flash forward 20 years and I now savor savasana! I make it a bit of a ritual. I like to rub a few drops of essential oil on my temples (rosemary is my favorite for this), put on an eye bag to block out the light and also to give my brain a sense of grounding. Sometimes I even place a sand bag over the top of my thighs if I really need an additional grounded feeling. If it’s chilly, I love to tuck a blanket all around my body, especially my feet. 5 minutes minimum! Older and wiser 😌
Alana Mitnick
Hi Jenny - How could I have missed seeing your wonderful sharing?! So true! I know for me it's useful to reflect on how my yoga practice has evolved over time. Older and wiser is right! Sounds like you've created beautiful rituals for yourself in Savasana... treating it with respect and reverence. Thank you for your presence on the forum. xoA
Lorraine Marek
I teach seniors in chairs what do you recommend for savasana. I usually just get them to sit back in the chair with chin down
Lorraine, Winnipeg, canada
Alana Mitnick
Hi Lorraine, So glad you're here! I love that you're teaching Seniors! This is such a great question. If you have access to a blanket for each person, you might have them rest a folded blanket on their lap (right up against the hip crease / lower abdomen). Often the extra weight can invite the nervous system to relax and settle. When leaning back in the chair, if their feet don't touch the floor, you might try a bolster/pillow/block under the feet for grounding and support. Do they take their shoes off or leave them on? OR depending on how active your Chair practice has been, you could lead them into a more attentive, upright meditation for Savasana (with a foam block between their upper back and chair for postural support) for a guided relaxation. Please stay close and keep me posted. Love, Alana 
1 person likes this.
I love the supported relaxation as it helps me to let go more easily than in the traditional savasana pose. I also love the prone version. It really brings the breath into the back body, so often forgotten. Thanks a lot for the savasana course, it is very inspiring and helpful, and it offers new perspectives on the savasana pose, also for those of us who has been practicing for many years!  I feel so inspired to give savasana a higher priority in my practice now. Love from Norway.
Alana Mitnick
Ingunn, I am so happy and touched by your comment. Thank you for sharing  your experience and insights. It reminds me that even after years of practice, we can fall in love again and rediscover the magic of Savasana and Yoga. So grateful for your presence here. Love, Alana 

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