Corpse Pose

The Benefits of Corpse Pose for Relaxation and Wellness

“Discover the benefits of the Corpse Pose in yoga. Learn how this relaxation technique can help you unwind, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being. Find step-by-step instructions and answers to FAQs about the Corpse Pose.


Corpse Pose, also known as Savasana, is a simple yet profoundly relaxing yoga pose that provides a wealth of benefits for both body and mind. As one of the most important poses in a yoga practice, Corpse Pose allows you to reap the full rewards of your workout by bringing your body and mind into a state of deep rest.

Table of Contents

What Is Corpse Pose?

Corpse Pose involves lying flat on your back with arms and legs comfortably spread out to the side. The feet are flopped open and relaxed. This pose is meant to emulate a corpse, hence the name Savasana, which comes from the Sanskrit words “sva” meaning corpse and “asana” for posture or pose.

Despite its rather morbid name, Savasana offers the perfect closing pose for a yoga practice by bringing the body into a state of complete physical and mental relaxation. It’s recommended to hold the pose for 5-15 minutes at the end of an intense yoga flow in order to allow the body to integrate the effects of the practice.

The beauty of Corpse Pose lies in its simplicity. No effort or strain is required-the only instruction is to lie still and relax into the support of the floor beneath you. By consciously releasing any physical or mental tension, Savasana provides the perfect segue into a meditative state.




The History Behind Corpse Pose

The origins of Corpse Pose can be traced back over 5,000 years ago to ancient Indian yoga and Hindu philosophies. Ancient yogic teachings emphasized the importance of relaxation and meditation, especially after the exertion of a vigorous physical practice. Savasana helped practitioners focus inward and sit with a blank, still mind.

In the yoga tradition, Savasana is said to be one of the most difficult yoga poses to master, precisely because it involves consciously letting go of tension and clearing the mind completely. However, this is also why Corpse Pose provides such profound mind-body benefits.

The renowned yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar brought Savasana to the West when he began teaching yoga in Europe and the United States in the 1960s. Through his teachings, Iyengar emphasized how Corpse Pose allows yoga students to integrate the benefits of their entire practice by completely relaxing body and mind.

Today, Savasana remains an integral part of most yoga classes as teachers aim to end their sessions on a tranquil note and leave students feeling calm and restored. Even a short time spent in Corpse can provide the opportunity to relax and refresh.

The Physical Benefits of Corpse Pose

Although it appears simple on the surface, Savasana provides a host of physical benefits by giving the body a chance to deeply rest and recover after a yoga flow. Some of the key physical benefits of Corpse Pose include:

Promotes Physical Relaxation

By fully relaxing the body from head to toe, Corpse Pose allows your physical body to release any residual tension from your yoga practice or day. Muscles that were active during yoga asanas can completely relax without any need to support the body or hold a pose. This allows for a full-body reset.

Lowers Blood Pressure

The meditative, relaxing state induced by Savasana has been shown to decrease blood pressure as the body calms down. One study found that blood pressure lowered by an average of 5 points after just 15 minutes in Corpse Pose.

Improves Circulation

Deep relaxation enhances circulation as blood can flow unrestricted when the body is fully at rest in Savasana. Improved circulation carries more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body to replenish the tissues.

Releases Muscle Tension

Any lingering tension melts away as the muscles soften and relax into the floor. This is especially beneficial after vigorously contracting and stretching the muscles during yoga. Corpse Pose allows them to lengthen without strain.

Improves Flexibility

As the muscles fully relax and circulation increases, stiffness and tightness decrease. Joints and connective tissues have the opportunity to loosen up without being held in place.

Promotes Mind-Body Integration

The physical relaxation provides the perfect setting for the mind to also unwind. This allows you to integrate the mental and physical benefits of your entire yoga practice.

Reduces Headache Pain

Studies suggest the relaxation response induced by Savasana may decrease migraine and tension headache pain by reducing muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders.

Promotes Restorative Sleep

The deeply relaxed state achieved in Corpse Pose primes you for a good night’s sleep. Savasana helps reduce anxiety and racing thoughts that can prevent restful sleep.

The Mental & Emotional Benefits of Corpse Pose

The mind and body are closely linked, so the physical relaxation of Savasana is mirrored by profound mental and emotional benefits. Here are some of the key ways Corpse Pose enhances mental wellbeing:

Induces Deep Relaxation

The full-body release of tension allows the mind to also unwind and enter a meditative state, free from the usual clutter of everyday thoughts and worries. This resets an overactive mind.

Lowers Anxiety & Stress

By clearing the mind and promoting a calm nervous system, Corpse Pose provides a respite from stress and anxiety. The relaxation response helps lower levels of stress hormones.

Improves Mood

The tranquil state induced by Savasana can boost mood by increasing serotonin and other feel-good hormones while lowering stress hormone levels. This enhances an overall sense of wellbeing.

Enhances Mindfulness

As you turn attention inward and focus on the present moment, Savasana enhances mindfulness and awareness. Observing sensations without reacting helps cultivate equanimity.

Boosts Creativity

The expansive quietness of mind can spark new insights and creative inspiration by allowing original ideas to bubble up from your subconscious mind.

Deepens Meditation

For those using Corpse Pose as a way to settle into meditation, the relaxation of Savasana helps calm the body so you can sit longer and deepen concentration.

Balances Nervous System

The parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system is activated as the body enters a state of deep rest. This balances out the stress response of the sympathetic nervous system.

Improves Insomnia

By deeply relaxing the body, Savasana can promote higher quality sleep for those suffering from insomnia and sleep disturbances. It helps quiet racing thoughts at bedtime.

Cultivates Gratitude

A quiet mind receptive to new insights allows you to reflect on all there is to be grateful for. Emerging from Savasana can spark an attitude of gratitude.

Fosters Inner Peace

The sense of connection between mind and body enhances an attitude of inner peacefulness that you can carry with you off your yoga mat.

Best Practices for Corpse Pose

While lying on your back in stillness may seem like an easy pose to master, there are some important guidelines to follow in order to reap the full benefits of Savasana. Here are some Corpse Pose best practices:

Hold for 5-15 Minutes

It’s recommended to stay in the pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Anything less than 5 minutes makes it difficult to fully relax and drop into a meditative state. Much longer than 15 minutes could potentially lead to sleep.

Find a Comfortable Surface

Choose a padded floor mat or carpeted surface to lie on. Avoid hard wood floors. You may also use yoga bolsters or blankets for extra padding and support of the head or knees.

Adjust your Body

Make any slight bodily adjustments needed for comfort, such as lifting your head on a blanket or placing a block under your knees. Once settled, try not to readjust.

Release Muscle Tension

Methodically relax each muscle group from toes to head. Exhale fully as you soften and release the muscles into the floor.

Open and Relax Your Palms

Gently open your palms facing upward with arms slightly away from your sides and legs spread comfortably apart.

Close Your Eyes

Soften your gaze, relax your eyelids and close your eyes. Use an eye pillow if needed to block out all light.

Clear Your Mind

Allow thoughts to drift away without attaching to any one thought or actively trying to think of nothing. Bring awareness to your breathing if thoughts intrude.

Remain Awake

The goal is to remain awake and conscious so you can meditate in full Corpse Pose. Avoid letting yourself drift into sleep.

Breathe Smoothly and Slowly

Take long, slow breaths low into the belly. Let your breathing find its own natural rhythm without trying to control it.

Release Effort

A key Corpse Pose instruction is to release all physical and mental effort entirely. Simply melt into the floor beneath you.

Stay Present

If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your awareness back to your breath or to the sensations in your body without judgment.

Emerge Slowly

Take your time coming out of the pose, allowing a few moments to wiggle your fingers and toes. Roll gently onto your side before using your arms to press yourself up to avoid dizziness.

Variations to Explore

While the standard Corpse Pose is lying on your back, there are a few simple variations you can try:

Side Corpse Pose

Lie on your side with legs bent in a fetal position and head supported. Keep arms relaxed.

Seated Corpse Pose

Sit up tall then hinge at the hips to lower your torso onto the floor. Straighten legs and rest arms by your sides.

Belly Down Corpse Pose

From a prone position, turn your head to one side. Allow your arms to relax by your sides. Place a pillow under your forehead for comfort if lying face down.

Legs on a Chair

While lying on your back, place your lower legs up on a chair seat or wall with knees bent at 90 degrees to ease strain on the lower back.

Sandbag on Chest

Place a weighted sandbag on your chest while lying down. Deepen breath into your belly and allow the sandbag’s weight to soften your chest muscles as you exhale.

Corpse Pose

Incorporating Corpse Pose into Your Routine

To fully integrate the benefits of Savasana into your life, it’s important to practice this pose regularly. Here’s how to effectively incorporate Corpse into your routine:

Practice after Exercise or Yoga

Include at least 5-10 minutes of Corpse Pose at the end of any physical workout to allow your body to recover.

Try Before Bedtime

Follow an evening yoga or meditation routine with Corpse to relax your body and prepare for sleep.

Use on Waking Up

Start your mornings with a few minutes in Savasana to clear your mind before getting out of bed.

Practice Midday

Take a Corpse Pose break during busy workdays for an afternoon reset. Even 5 minutes can be revitalizing.

Do Anytime You’re Tired

If you notice fatigue during the day, spend 5-10 minutes relaxing in Corpse to boost your energy levels.

Practice After a Busy Day

Wind down on stressful days with an extended 15 minute Corpse session to decompress.

The more consistently you practice Savasana, the more adept you’ll become at inducing deep states of relaxation to counter the stresses of everyday life.

Simple Cues to Remember

Keep these brief instructions in mind to help you settle into a restorative Corpse Pose anytime, anywhere:

  • Lie down on back, arms and legs relaxed.
  • Close eyes, relax face and jaw.
  • Soften belly, release shoulders down.
  • Slow breathing into lower belly.
  • Release tension from toes to head.
  • Clear mind, bring awareness to breath.
  • Relax deeper with each exhale.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While Corpse Pose looks simple, there are a few common mistakes that can prevent you from fully relaxing:

Straining muscles

Any type of tension in the muscles defeats the entire purpose of Savasana. Consciously scan the body and relax areas of tightness.

Falling asleep

Resist the urge to doze off so you remain conscious enough to experience the meditative benefits.

Ignoring discomfort

Make any adjustments needed for comfort, like supporting your head and knees. Don’t ignore pain.

Racing thoughts

If your mind is too active, focus on your breath and practice observing thoughts without attachment.

No final relaxation

Don’t jump right up after Corpse. Take time to wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch arms overhead, then slowly sit up.

Sample 5-Minute Corpse Pose Routine

If you’re short on time, even 5 minutes in Savasana can induce relaxation. Try this sequence:

  • Find a comfortable spot, lie down on back.
  • Close eyes, relax body fully from head to toe.
  • With each exhale, soften deeper into the floor.
  • Release any areas of tension-jaw, belly, fists.
  • Allow breathing to slow and deepen.
  • Bring awareness to your breath, how it moves in and out.
  • As thoughts come, gently let them go without following.
  • Feel the rise and fall of your belly with each breath.
  • Scan for any lingering tension, continue to soften.
  • Stay relaxed as you slowly begin to deepen breath.
  • On your next exhale, gently start to deepen your awareness.
  • Wiggle fingers and toes, stretch arms overhead if feels good.
  • When ready, slowly roll to your side, use arms to press up to sitting.
  • Take a moment before moving on with your day.

Even this short amount of time unwinding in Savasana can provide a boost of energy and sense of calm.

How To Get the Most from Corpse Pose

To gain the greatest mental and physical benefits from your practice of Savasana, keep these tips in mind:

  • Commit to practicing Corpse Pose on a regular basis-not just when you feel like it. The more frequently you practice relaxing, the easier it becomes.
  • Let go of any judgments, annoyance or feelings of impatience. Sink into the pose as long as feels comfortable without watching the clock.
  • If tension persists anywhere in your body, use the breath to help release it. Exhale fully and imagine the area softening.
  • Similarly with a busy mind, continually direct your awareness back to your breath if thoughts intrude. Don’t dwell on the need to clear your mind.
  • Remember there is no “right” way to feel in Savasana – just accept any sensations that arise. Stay open and receptive.
  • Come out of the pose slowly to transition your relaxation into your next activity. Notice how you feel after Savasana.
  • Allow Corpse Pose to enhance your attitude of mindfulness throughout your day, not just while on your mat.

By regularly ending your yoga or fitness routine with an extended Corpse Pose, you’ll learn to more easily access a state of relaxation. Your mind and body will rebalance as you give them the chance to fully rest, recover and renew.


What is the purpose of Corpse Pose?

The main purpose of Corpse Pose, or Savasana, is to rest the body and calm the mind after the exertion of yoga or exercise. Savasana allows you to integrate the benefits of your workout by completely relaxing from head to toe.

What are the benefits of holding Corpse Pose for longer?

Staying in Savasana for longer periods gives your body and mind more time to fully unwind and rebalance. Mentally, you can drop into a meditative state more deeply. Physically, muscles and joints have time to release any residual tension.

Can I do Corpse Pose with my eyes open?

It’s recommended to close your eyes in Corpse Pose to minimize external visual stimulation and facilitate turning focus inward. However, if closing your eyes is uncomfortable, keep them open unfocused or even use an eye bag.

What happens if I fall asleep in Corpse Pose?

It’s fine if you doze off briefly in Savasana since relaxation can induce sleep. But aim to remain awake enough to stay aware of your breath and consciously relax. Set a timer if needed to avoid falling into deep sleep.

Can I practice Corpse Pose on a full stomach?

It’s best to avoid Corpse Pose immediately after a big meal since lying flat on your back can aggravate digestion. Allow the food to digest first or use a bolster under your knees if you have to practice Savasana on a full stomach.


In conclusion, Corpse Pose offers powerful mind-body benefits when practiced with regularity. The simple act of relaxing on your back for just 5-15 minutes provides profound relaxation for strained muscles, anxious minds and overloaded nervous systems. Savasana can reset the body’s systems, enhance mood and prepare you for sleep or meditation. While appearing easy, this pose requires letting go of tension and busyness to sink into stillness. When practiced consistently, the deep relaxation of Corpse Pose becomes an easily accessible tool for finding inner calm amidst daily

Check out this video on how to do the Corpse Pose!

Learning more yoga poses is essential to being a successful yogi. Go to our page Essential Yoga Poses: Achieving Balance and Well-being to find more yoga poses!



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *