The Challenge of Savasana

What is it, how to do it, why it’s matters 

The purpose of Savasana (or also known as relaxation pose, corpse pose, and even dead-man’s pose) is to enable you to rest completely, both physically and mentally. It is as simple, and, as complicated as that. 
This is why the position you take when you practice Savasana 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.
Worth pointing out, is that we talk about rest, not sleep, which is something quite different. So time for Savasana does not mean time to nap and sleep. Sometimes, in our sleep-deprived society though, this does happen, and it’s not the end of the world. But if you’re sleeping in the pose, you’re missing out on the benefits of conscious relaxation, which are quite different from the benefits of sleep.

It’s important you are comfortable

Even though the classic version of the 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 physical issues, like lower back pain, tightness in the shoulders and/or upper back, or a stiff neck. Then there are those who aren’t comfortable for emotional reasons, for some, lying flat on the backs makes them feel exposed or vulnerable.
There are also those, such as pregnant women, who shouldn’t be lying on their backs at all. And some others who tend to fall asleep in the classic position. 
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. Experiment with various props/positions to find a way that works for you (one article below gives some ideas), and ask your teacher for suggestions (this is what we teachers are there for). 
My personal favourite is to place blocks (and/or a blanket) at the backside of my thighs, close where the thigh becomes the backside of the knee. A folded blanket under my head, and an eye pillow. During the colder part of the year, socks on, and an additional blanket on top to keep warm, and therefore relaxed (it is virtually impossible to relax your muscles and rest if you’re cold). 

A Time to Rest or a Time to Awaken?

I don’t think we can underestimate the power of this quiet time that this pose offers. In our busy world, we rarely take the time to relax and let our minds just be free. Savasana provides a time of inner peace, a moment of relief from the information overload of our always-busy, always-connected lives. 
Savasana is a practice, not just a pose. So, to truly practice Savasana, you need to practice with a mental focus, such as your breath, an image, a mantra, or gradual physical relaxation, as well as with a commitment to remaining still. 
If you want to lie in the position without doing the practice, that’s of course perfectly fine, you will get a nice rest. However, you may miss out on some of the benefits of this ancient practice, such as reaching very deep levels of relaxation and quietness, improving your concentration, and reducing your stress levels.
In a posture in which our bodies are completely still, we are challenged to keep our minds focused. The pose is named “corpse pose” for a reason. We are to act as if our bodies had dissolved away—as if we were already dead, so to speak.
When practiced this way, Savasana is a powerful tool. It can help us momentarily become less identified with our bodies and less attached to the trappings of our lives. In those last minutes of class, we can reconnect to the pure, perfect essence that already exists within each of us.
Lie still, in complete silence, present with the sensations of your body and completely aware of the random thoughts of your mind. Use this time to reconnect with yourself, body and mind, to that which is already in you. 
It won’t be easy. It might not even be as pleasant as that nap you were hoping for. But finding that quiet place within yourself will be well worth the effort. This I promise you.