Savasana pose is arguably the most important pose in every yoga class. Your students may begin practicing yoga for a number of different reasons, but many of them continue practicing because of the yoga high they feel after a relaxing Savasana.
As we move into the holiday season, students look forward to a grounding and restful Savasana after a long day of holiday shopping or in preparation for a night of festivities.
The busy holiday season can feel chaotic and even stressful, especially for those with difficult family relationships and those enduring financial hardships.
A few minutes of stillness at the end of a yoga practice gives your students some much-needed peace.
Savasana pose is meant to be a relaxing pose that your students can recharge in, find stillness, and get grounded.
But Savasana isn’t the only pose you can end your class in! There are a few other pose options that you can end your class in for a blissful meditation.
Why End Your Class in a Pose Other Than Savasana
Though Savasana pose is comfortable for most students, some students may find it difficult to relax lying flat. For those with low back pain, Savasana may not feel restful. Pregnant students also need alternative poses to rest in as it is not recommended for them to lie flat.
The way you set your students up for their final resting posture will allow them to fully relax and enjoy their meditation even more. Sometimes all it takes is the addition of a few props for your students to totally relax into Savasana.
Try out the below Savasana options in your classes to allow your students to feel grounded, comfortable, and relaxed!
Alternate Savasana Poses to Try in Your Next Yoga Class
Legs Up The Wall
Legs Up the Wall is a great alternative to Savasana! This pose helps to release the lower back, gently stretches the hamstrings, and is a cooling pose that helps with insomnia and stress-relief.
You’ll need plenty of wall space in your studio to easily set your students up in Legs Up the Wall. You may also want blankets and sand bags for maximum comfort.
How to Set Your Students up in Legs Up the Wall:
Set up your students with the short side of their yoga mats along the wall.
Instruct your students to lie on their sides with knees bent and hips against the wall.
Students will roll onto their backs and extend their legs up the wall. Then, scoot closer to the wall so that their legs can lie flush or as close to flush as comfortable to the wall.
Lay a sandbag or blanket across your students’ feet to keep their legs comfortably in place.
Before talking them out of the pose, remove the props from their feet. To exit the pose, cue your students to bend their knees and roll onto their side in a fetal position. Then press back up to a seated position.
Legs Up The Bolster
Legs Up the Bolster is similar to Legs Up the Wall but is even gentler and does not stretch the hamstrings. It allows the low back and hips to relax with the calves resting on a bolster bridge.
You’ll need a bolster and two blocks per student to set up Legs Up the Bolster. If sandbags are available, use one sandbag per student.
How to Set Your Students up in Legs Up the Bolster:
Set up a bolster bridge at the end of the yoga mat with two blocks on the tallest setting and a bolster laid across creating a bridge.
Cue your students to lie down on their sides with their hips close to the edge of the bolster bridge.
Have students roll onto their backs and rest their calves on the bolster bridge. They should have full support under their calves with their knees bent to a 90 degree angle. For taller students, add a folded blanket or additional bolster on top of the bolster bridge so that they can easily relax their hips and legs. For shorter students, you may need to adjust their blocks to medium height.
Option to lay a sandbag onto your students hips to increase the grounding sensation.
To exit the pose, cue your students to draw their knees into their chest, then roll to their sides into fetal position.
Supported Fish on a Bolster
Supported Fish on a Bolster is a gentle heart opening pose. Students that find it difficult to lay flat may find this pose more restful.
You’ll need two blocks and a bolster per student. You may also want two blankets per student to lay under their arms for comfort.
How to Set Your Students up in Supported Fish on a Bolster:
Set up a bolster ramp at the end of each student's yoga mat by laying one block on the tallest setting and one on medium setting. Lay the bolster vertically down the blocks to create a ramp.
Cue your students to sit at the end of the bolster ramp with their hips against the end of the bolster.
Have your students lie down on the bolster and open their arms to the sides with palms facing up.
For students with tight chests or those who find it uncomfortable to lay their arms on the ground, place folded blankets under their forearms for support and comfort.
To exit the pose, cue your students to roll onto one side off the bolster ramp into the fetal position, then press themselves up to a seated position.
Bent Knee Savasana
Bent Knee Savasana is great for students with sensitive low backs. It allows the sacrum to fully ground into the mat and releases the lower back. This pose can also feel restful after a backbending practice, or one with a lot of intense externally rotated hip postures.
No props are necessary for this pose.
How to Set Your Students up in Bent Knee Savasana:
Have your students lie down on their backs with their knees bent.
Cue students to set up their feet wider than hip width distance apart, then let the knees fall in against each other. They may open their arms out like a traditional Savasana pose.
To exit the pose, cue students to roll to their sides into fetal position.
Savasana with Knee Support
Savasana with Knee Support is another good Savasana alternative for students who find it uncomfortable to lie flat or have sensitive low backs.
You’ll need a bolster or rolled up blanket for each student.
How to Set Your Students up in Savasana with Knee Support:
Set up your students with a bolster or rolled up blanket next to their mats, then cue them to lie down on their backs with knees bent.
Instruct your students to slide the bolster or rolled up blanket under their knees, then extend their legs straight out with feet wider than hip width distance apart. If their feet do not reach the mat, place blocks or folded blankets under their heels.
Their arms may open out to the sides like a traditional Savasana pose, or they can lay their hands on their bellies if that feels more comfortable.
To exit the pose, cue your students to draw their knees into their chests, then roll to the side into fetal position.
Chest Opening Savasana
Chest Opening Savasana elevates the chest and gently stretches the pecs, which helps with posture. This pose is great for heart-centered meditation and for students that sit for long periods of time for work.
You’ll need two blankets for each student. You may also want to pair this pose with Savasana with Knee Support by adding a bolster under the knees if desired.
How to Set Your Students up in Chest Opening Savasana:
Fold the two blankets in half vertically once, and horizontally once. Then fold into thirds vertically again so you end up with two long folded blankets.
Lay one blanket vertically down the top half of the mat. This one will support the spine and head. The second one will lay horizontally across towards the bottom of the first blanket.
Set up your students so they are seated with their hips along the bottom edge of the first blanket. When they lie down, the horizontal blanket should end up just below their shoulder blades - not on them.
For neck support, cue your students to tuck the vertical blanket underneath their neck. It should not feel like a stretch, rather the blanket should just support the curve of the cervical spine. Tell them to readjust as needed until it feels easy and comfortable.
To exit the pose, cue students to roll to their sides into fetal position, then return to a seated position.
Side Lying Savasana
Side Lying Savasana is ideal for pregnant students who can no longer lay on their backs, as this puts pressure on the inferior vena cava. Students with back pain may also like this variation! There are several variations of Side Lying Savasana you can explore, but below is one of the simplest.
You’ll need one or two bolsters. If you have two bolsters, you need one blanket. If you have one bolster, you’ll need two or three blankets.
How to Set Your Students up in Side Lying Savasana:
Lay a bolster vertically along the yoga mat.
Lay a second bolster or folded blanket horizontally across the top of the yoga mat.
Add an additional folded blanket below the bolster or blanket at the top of the mat. There should be enough room between these two props for your student to rest their arm across the mat. This blanket will support the ribs and belly to allow for a neutral spine.
Cue your student to lie on their side with their ribs on the folded blanket at the middle of the mat, and their head on the bolster (or folded blanket) at the top of the mat. Their shoulder should rest on the mat, with their arm either extended out or bent.
Students can either bend both knees and place the bolster between their knees, supporting the entire shin bone. Or, they may keep the bottom leg extended and lay the top leg on the bolster, supporting the entire length of the shin bone from knee to ankle.