Surrendering into Savasana: How to Let Go and Relax

Savasana is a posture, not just an act of relaxation, so there are specific alignment cues that are used to support the body to begin to let go and relax.

Classically, the legs are about 12 inches apart, with the hips naturally rolled open. The shoulder blades are relaxed down the back body, the shoulders melt down away from the ears, and the back ribs soften and broaden. The arms are about 10 inches away from the torso and turned outward, creating a soft lateral rotation and opening of the chest and shoulders.

The back of your neck is elongated and the weight of the head is released. You can use props to support your body—for example, a low folded blanket under your head or a support under your neck, or a rolled blanket or pillow under the knees to release the low back. You can place eye bags gently over your eyes to block out light and help you fully surrender.

The level of activity in class may determine how easy it is to relax into Savasana. A vigorous class lends itself to ending with a deeper rest for the physical body. When the physical body is relaxed, the breath and the mind will follow. In a gentle or moderate class, the teacher may need to guide relaxation a bit more. It’s also important that the teacher create an environment that lends itself to letting go, with comfortable room temperature, low lighting, and perhaps neutral relaxing music. You can do this for yourself if you’re practicing at home.

There are many relaxation techniques that can be guided to help you surrender into Savasana. A full body scan encourages each body part to become heavy and let go of effort; in a progressive relaxation, you tense and release your muscles one by one. Or send your breath awareness throughout your body—inhale into your heart, then exhale down your arms and out your fingertips. Inhale into your belly, then exhale down your legs and out through your toes, letting your whole body sink into the floor with each exhalation as you let go with a soft sigh … Feeling relaxed yet?

Find out about upcoming programs with Priti Robyn Ross at Kripalu.

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