I used to be one of those people who could sink into Savasana in a matter of moments. It was one of the juiciest poses out there for me. However, my mild scoliosis progressed over the last couple of years, probably because my life became more sedentary and stressful. Now, Savasana is the pose that makes every little twist and turn taking place in my body (due to scoliosis) painfully obvious. My right shoulder is elevated, my left rib cage lifting off the ground, my right hip twisting out and into the ground, and my left toes turn out more illuminating stress on that knee and ankle. I am now challenged in Savasana. I finally understand why, for some, this can be one of the most challenging poses.
Settling into Savasana with Scoliosis
Now, I bring a ton of mindfulness into getting into Savasana. I bend my knees and roll down one vertebra at a time. Then, I roll my right arm open, starting from the head of the humerus extending down through my fingertips, tucking my right shoulder blade under me. This action results in a nice juicy stretch across the right side of my neck, chest, and arm. I then lengthen my left leg first, making it extra long because it is my shorter leg and this really helps to ground my left hip which likes to lift. Then I lengthen my right leg. At this point I am in it; I have done everything I can. I feel all that is asymmetrical. This is when the work begins. I have to let it go, no matter how uncomfortable it feels to me, with the exception of low back pain. If I have it, I bend my knees and let them rest against each other.
Savasana Increasing Body Awareness with Scoliosis
If you are in an Iyengar type class with props and whatnot – furniture yoga (which I love) – you will have access to all sorts of support for your body’s twists and turns, ultimately bringing you into a deeper state of relaxation when in Savasana. However, I have been grateful recently for what Savasana without props has taught me about my body. I see it’s twists more clearly when in contrast to a flat floor, and have been able to integrate this awareness into my active asana practice. I also notice how my body shifts over time, which has been encouraging. As always, asana is about your relationship to your body, ultimately mirroring your relationship with yourself. If you are stressed, or just need the feeling of support, props are bomber, with or without scoliosis!
My intention here has simply been to add a tool to your yoga tool bag :). Notice how your body feels against a flat surface. If you want to, try adding intention initially in Savasana, find what your body needs to feel balanced, and then, release completely to the earth. This has definitely helped me. You may be surprised by what you find, maybe even deeper relaxation!
If your interested in more ideas on scoliosis and yoga, check out my Manage your Scoliosis with Bikram Yoga post.