This pose is also called Mrtasana (pronounced mrit-TAHS-anna, mrta = death)
Step by Step
Contraindications and Cautions
Back injury or discomfort: Do this pose with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, hip-distance apart; either bind the thighs parallel to each other with a strap (taking care not to position the heels too close to the buttocks) or support the bent knees on a bolster.
Pregnancy: Raise your head and chest on a bolster.
Modifications and Props
Usually Savasana is performed with the legs turned out. Sometimes though, after a practice session involving lots of outward rotation of the legs (as for standing poses), it feels good to do this pose with the legs turned in. Take a strap and make a small loop. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and slip the loop over your big toes. Lie back and turn your thighs inward, sliding your heels apart. The loop will help maintain the inward turn of the legs.
Deepen the Pose
To help release the brain and quiet the mind in Savasana, take a block and a 10-pound sand bag. After reclining on the floor, position the block on the floor above your head. The block should sit on one of its sides (the height of the block should be about 5 inches), with one of its ends lightly touching your crown. Then lay the sand bag half on the block and half on your forehead. Scrub the forehead skin down, toward your eyebrows. Then let the brain sink away from this weight.
Savasana should conclude both your asana and your pranayama practices.
Often it's difficult to release the heads of the thigh bones and soften the groins in this pose. This creates tension throughout the body and restricts the breath. Take two 10-pound sand bags and lay one across each top thigh, parallel to the crease of the groin. Then imagine that the heads of the thigh bones are sinking away from the weight, down into the floor.
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Relaxes the body
Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia
Helps to lower blood pressure
In Savasana, it's especially useful to have a partner check your physical alignment. One of the most difficult parts of the body to align on your own is your head. Have your partner sit at your head and observe its position relative to your shoulders. It's common for students' heads to be tilted or turned to one side or the other. The partner should gently cradle your head in his/her hands and draw the base of the skull away from the back of the neck, lengthening the shorter side of the neck, so that both ears are equidistant from the shoulders. Then your partner can lay your head back down on the floor, making sure that the tip of your nose is pointing directly toward the ceiling.