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Key Shavasana Variations For Deeper Relaxation

In Daoist teachings the energies that make up our world are classified as either yin or yang. Yang energies are commonly represented by fire and the sun. Yin energies are often represented by water and the moon. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches good health requires a balance of yin and yang. Shavasana or corpse pose is the quintessential yin yoga pose. Shavasana gives us time to integrate and absorb the physical, mental and energetic shifts experienced in a yoga class. Shavasana allows us time for deep relaxation and restoration, and it can be practiced on its own. Some folks, however, may struggle with being able to rest deeply in shavasana. Below are a few common variations of shavasana to help make the pose more restful.

Shavasana With The Legs Elevated and Bound

If you find regular shavasana uncomfortable to your lower back, try elevating your legs while you practice this pose. Resting with your legs bent, or with your legs in a chair or up a wall reduces the lordotic or inward curve of the lumbar spine. This makes the pose more comfortable and subsequently more restful for some folks. To get into this variation, sit with one side of your body next to a chair or wall space and swing your legs up onto either the chair or the wall as you bring your back down onto the floor. Working into shavasana with the legs up the wall is an excellent choice if you have poor circulation in your legs and suffer from swollen legs and feet regardless of the cause. Try binding your legs with a strap or belt to help keep them together as you relax.

Shavasana With A Gentle Chest Opener

While shavasana with a chest opener may not directly reverse the effects of slouching on your chest and spine, this variation can help encourage deeper relaxation by gently opening your chest and abdomen. To practice this pose, you will need one or two folded blankets (the width of your folded blanket should be no wider than the distance between your shoulder blades in this variation). Use your folded up blankets to support your back and hips as you rest in shavasana. You can support your neck and head with a small pillow if you like. Your shoulders are gently falling towards the floor. Some folks enjoy supporting their forearms and hands on blankets in this variation of corpse pose. Your legs can be bent in this variation or straight.

Side Lying Shavasana

This variation of shavasana is a great option for folks who prefer not to rest with their backs flat on the floor. To practice, lie down on either side of your body, support your head with a pillow and ease your supporting shoulder (the shoulder resting on the floor) forward slightly to ease any tension that may build there. Bend your legs and ease your knees towards your chest. You can place a pillow in between your lower legs and ankles if that makes the pose more restful. 

Corpse pose is all about resting deeply.  Deep rest allows for greater self- awareness and inner peace. To rest deeply in the pose if you are not yet doing so, experiment with different ways to practice the posture. Experiment with the number of props you use and with different variations of the pose depending on what you feel will be most soothing to your body. What is most soothing to you may or may not change day to day. At Yoga With Dr. AcuMassage Dr. Laurel teaches yin yoga classes infused with Traditional Chinese Medicine to encourage both deep relaxation and wellness. Take advantage of our free one-week trial when you sign up today!




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