The purpose of Savasana (Relaxation pose) is to enable you to rest completely, both physically and mentally. So that’s why the position you take when you practice it should be comfortable, as symmetrical as possible, and relaxing. And, ideally, this position should be one where you do not need to use any effort to stay in the pose. However, even though the classic version of this pose is very simple and takes no effort to maintain—you just lie on your back on the floor—many people find this position isn’t all that comfortable. For some, this might be due to a physical issue, such as back pain, tightness in the shoulders, or a stiff neck. Then there are those who aren’t comfortable for emotional reasons: some people find lying flat on their backs makes them feel exposed or vulnerable. Whatever the reasons, if you’re uncomfortable, you won’t be able to experience the benefits of conscious relaxation, so if the pose isn’t working for you, it’s not working for you. There are also some people, such as those who are pregnant, who shouldn’t be lying on their backs at all. And other people tend to fall asleep in the classic position, and if you’re sleeping in the pose, you’re missing out on the benefits of conscious relaxation, which are quite different than sleep (although, of course, you need your sleep, too).
In the first restorative variation you use a bolster under your torso and in the second you use a thin stack of two folded blankets instead. For both variations place a folded blanket or towel on top of the bolster or blanket stack to use for your head, making sure the support for your head is high enough so your chin can point toward your chest. After you set up your props, before you lay back, make sure that you sit on the floor in front of the bolster or blanket stack (not on the bolster or blankets). The support should be under your torso, but not under your buttocks!
This post was originally published on the Accessible Yoga Blog.