Mindfulness Daily Savasana (Step Three)

This post is assuming you have read the following two items…

STEP ONE = Committed to a daily time set aside for yourself

STEP TWO = Found some techniques to do during that time to focus on settling the mind as much as possible


Now the fun part! Making your daily savasana something you look forward to each day.

At this point, you may still be getting wrapped up in the flow of your day and forgetting to pause. I have some tips for that as well. This is also the time when you may be finding that pausing and witnessing your busy thoughts to be a frustrating activity. You may even want to just watch TV instead. I have been there, I get it. I have found that the following items have helped me. Hoping they work for you too.

I continue to be relatively new at this daily pause, only been trying for one month. Being honest, I found some days are easier than others. But I remind myself that it is a practice, one that has a ton of health benefits – physical, mental and emotional. There are also days that I truly settle in and find rest. Those moments keep me going and firm my commitment to doing this daily.

Remember that taking this daily time is not easy to do, but it is necessary and worth it. If it was easy to do, more people would be taking a daily savasana and the World would be a better place for it.


Discovering What is Blocking You

You may (like I do) discover that there are still things blocking you from doing a daily savasana or mindfulness moment practice. The important thing is to make it a consistent daily practice. You may find that you feel relaxed on a Sunday so you will skip it…please don’t! You need it daily. Even on restful days. Think of it as making a daily deposit in your personal energy bank. Develop a strong practice so on stressful days, you already have an established practice to provide peace.

Journal or Brainstorm on what is blocking you = This is a very raw and honest discussion with yourself. It is a necessary first step. It might go deep into feeling like you do not deserve the time. Or it may be that you just simply forget, it is not on the top of your priority list. But why is it not number one on your daily list? Really diving deep to figure out the root cause will not be a comfortable task but a necessary one. Reminder to be kind and gentle to yourself. For me, it is not easy to put myself first. I tend to take care of others, even the house, before taking time for myself. It is something I am aware of so during my day, I purposefully take my daily savasana at 4pm, no matter what is going on. I found that I am getting more comfortable with stopping what I am doing, and putting myself as a priority. Instead of telling myself I will make time for me, after I get XYZ done. I found it more beneficial to pause in the middle of the XYZ task and take my “me time”.

I am too busy, not enough time = This is rarely the case. I have yet to meet anyone who does not have 5 minutes of free time in their day. This is a reason behind this, return to journaling and figure out the root cause.

It is not working = This is absolutely normal! It may feel like it is not working because your mind is chattering away and you cannot settle. Honestly, it just means you need it more than you think you do. It is a practice for life. Don’t expect instant gratification. Slow down, be gentle and kind to yourself. Write down the repeating random thoughts from your unconscious. See if there are patterns or items to address. If you find yourself really struggling, never hesitate to seek professional help with a trained therapist. Sometimes this practice brings up things we thought we were emotionally over with, it is healthy to detox your mind and emotions.

I just don’t want to = OK. I am not saying this is for everyone. Just that everyone can benefit from it. Come to this practice when you are ready. In the meantime, reduce your screen time daily (cell phones, computer, TV). This will help you to at least find a little slice of peace in your day.

I keep forgetting= I am going to list a ton here since what will work for one person, will likely not work for someone else.

  • Set a timer on your cell phone, like a meeting notice, to pause and stop.
  • Use a cell phone app which tracks how many consecutive days you stopped and rested. I use Insight Timer in order to set a 20 minute timer and it also automatically logs that I used the app.
  • Link the daily savasana with something else in your day. For example, pausing after lunch. Or directly after you were working from home all day, staring at screens (cell phone, computer). You are more likely to remember if it is related to something else in your day, like washing your face is linked to brushing your teeth.
  • Make a note to yourself and have it visible; in the kitchen, on your desk, on the bathroom mirror. It can be as simple as the word “Pause” or an inspiring quote you enjoy.
  • Get a buddy! Enlist a friend or family member to do this with you. Check in on each other or even text pictures of your savasana setup as a friendly reminder.

Get Cozy

One of the ways to make it a practice you look for to is to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible. If space in your home allows, set aside a designated area for your practice. Over time, you may want to invest in yoga bolsters, etc.

Look around your house and gather pillows, blankets, bath towels, etc. Anything that you find to be cozy. We are making a nest! If you are physically comfortable, you are more likely to spend more time in your mindfulness practice (try for 20 minutes) and also gain more health benefits as well. There is a type of yoga called Restorative. (overview here: Restorative Yoga 101 ) The main goal is to get the body to rest so you can discover more ease.

In order to keep this post shorter, I have detailed some suggestions on reclined poses to try here : Restorative Yoga Reclined Poses

My advice is that you explore multiple setups and find your favorites.


Set your Intention

What are you realistically expecting from your practice? What do you want as a result? Make this personal to you. Even before taking your daily practice, set your intention. It can be a single word or a phrase. Being mindful means that you are focusing your attention and energy towards something you want to grow. Being clear on what this is, will create a richness to your practice and a depth to it.

  • Be open
  • Self-care
  • Allow myself to just be here
  • Receive instead of achieve
  • Reset and recharge
  • Fill up my energy bank
  • Put me first
  • Create balance
  • Embrace silence and stillness

“not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize.” 

Pico Iyer

I wish you the absolute best on your daily savasana journey. In order to keep up with the latest tips, please subscribe to my twice a month emailed free newsletter: https://carolbaileyyoga.com/newsletter/

Restorative Yoga Reclined Poses “My Favorites”

These are my top three favorite Restorative Yoga reclined positions. I also have a YouTube video available in case you need more details for the poses below. Any questions feel free to email me ReikiEnergyYoga@gmail.com

For all of the shapes, I have a blanket covering my sticky yoga mat for added padding. Also make sure you are warm…wear socks, have a blanket to cover up completely, etc. If you feel safe to do so, close your eyes and use a light-weight eye pillow or scarf to block out any light from your room. I am showing the usage of yoga props but any bath towels, bed pillows, couch cushions, can be utilized from around your house.

Note that all of the poses I have learned from my studies with Judith Hanson Lasater. If you need more info on Restorative Yoga, check out my previous blog post (Restorative Yoga 101).

Supported Backbend (with 1 blanket)

  • Props = 1 blanket
  • Fold your blanket or towel so that it is the length of your torso from the very bottom of your shoulder blades to the top of your pelvis. Note I am showing using one blanket but you can add an additional blanket on top for more height.
  • Make sure the smooth folded edge of the blanket is facing towards your head.
  • Sit on your mat. Lay down on your blanket support so that the very bottom of your shoulder blades are on the folded smooth edge. This creates a feeling that your low ribs are expanding upwards and outwards aka creating a backbend shape.
  • Duration = 2 to 10 minutes
  • Benefits = Opens up the front of the body; Provides a calming effect by slowing brain waves (head is below heart); Low back relief after sitting all day

Stonehenge

  • Props = 1 blanket for head support, firm rectangle bolster, 2 blocks
  • Create a head support with a blanket. This will be positioned under the entire head, cervical spine and under the very top of the shoulders. In anatomy terms, you have the support under the intersection of C7/T1 which is the base of the neck where it meets the thoracic spine at the top of the shoulders. I am showing using a fleece blanket which I find the most comfortable.
  • Set up your bolster on two yoga blocks. The blocks are at the medium height to create an equal sign. They are positioned about a hand print distance apart.
  • When you lay down, the back of your knees touch the front edge of the bolster and your feet hang out in space, a little lower than your knee level.
  • Duration = 10 to 20 minutes
  • Benefits = Reduces muscle fatigue in legs from standing or walking all day. Helps to drain fluid from the legs as well.

Basic Relaxation Pose

  • Props = Important props here are the head support and under the knees. Other props you can add as you wish.
  • Create the same head support as the previous pose.
  • Use a firm round bolster under your knees as well as a smaller prana bolster or rolled blanket under the back of your ankles (Achilles tendons). Noting that the height of your knees in this pose is twice the height from the ground as your ankles.
  • Your heels are elevated off the ground.
  • Your arms are out to the sides, palms facing up to the ceiling. Hands and wrists supported with small throw pillows or additional blankets.
  • Eye pillow.
  • Duration = 10 to 20 minutes
  • Benefits = Creates potential for deep relaxation. Slows down heart rate and respiratory rate. Lowers blood pressure. The body relaxes the best when you have the most flexion (think bent knees for example). This poses creates almost a wave to the body which is soothing.

My Yoga Props

Restorative Yoga does use a ton of props. When you are first starting, just use the items around your house. You can even make a bed pillow into a firm bolster by wrapping a blanket around it tightly and securing it with a string. If you would like to have more info on the items I am using in the post, here is my list. Note that I am just putting the brand name. You can search for these on Amazon, YogaOutlet or the brand’s site themselves.

  • Blankets =
    • Fleece one for under my head = Life is Good brand, I only found this during December but these fleece type blankets are easy to find with many brands.
    • Purple and off-white ones that are more “traditional” 100% cotton blankets, I like the smooth edges = Kakaos Brand
    • Mexican yoga blanket (blue striped one with tassels in supported backbend image) = You can find these online easily, I got mine from Amazon awhile back. I only have one of these and use it when I want a thicker blanket.
  • Eye Pillow = You want either a scarf or a very light-weight kind. You do not want a heavy pressure on your eyes for a long period of time. I purchased mine from Amazon, brand is Clocktower Fitness. It is also unscented which is nice since smells are linked to our memories so having no scents is important.
  • Rectangle and also Round Bolster = Hugger Mugger
  • Small prana bolster (gray one under my ankles) = Brentwood Home, they have a Crystal Cove yoga collection of meditation cushions and bolsters.
  • Blocks = Hugger Mugger
  • Yoga mat = Liforme
  • I have purchased a lot of props that did not work out so well, so if you think I can be of any help, please email me with any prop questions. ReikiEnergyYoga@gmail.com

Restorative Yoga 101

Before this blog post please read my previous ones about actually setting time aside in your day for a rest (Starting a Mindfulness Practice) & also some techniques to focus the mind (Mindfulness Techniques).

After this post, please reference a list of my “go to” reclined positions (Restorative Yoga Poses). They are comfortable shapes to try out in order to facilitate a more restful practice.


Based on previous blog posts, you have committed to (or at least realize the importance of) stopping and resting during your day. It is not a luxury and never a waste of time. It is an absolutely necessary part of life. Our days naturally do not lead us into a balanced state concerning our nervous systems. In the history of human beings we used to fight/flight against real threats for survival like running away from a bear. But the normal daily “bears” now are a never-ending to do list, an overflowing inbox of emails and other family/career demands.

Anatomy side note, our nervous system is not as simple as parasympathetic (rest/digest/recover) vs. sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze). There are at least 8 major nerve systems that activate you vs. around 3 major systems that quiet you down. Which means it is much easier for us to stay in a constant active revved up state than to be quiet and calm.

Just because it is not easy to do doesn’t mean we don’t need it. Resting is the most beneficial thing you can do. I call it a daily vitamin. Your muscles release, blood pressure and stress-hormone levels drop, heart rate and breathing rate decrease and even brain waves slow down. This leads to a benefit for your circulatory system, immune system, digestion and other functions of the body.

There are many ways to have a mindful practice. One of them is restorative yoga. The key here is that the shape you create with your body aids in the relaxation response. Note that the shape you hold is not magic. Your brain does need a focal point to get the full benefits. In the previously related blog posts I outlined some suggestions. Below is an example of a daily practice I have been doing. Note it does vary each day. Some days it is “easier” to let go and others I struggle and get frustrated because I am human! But the point is, it is a practice. You are training yourself to release just like you would go the the gym to train for running a marathon. The point here is that you are training to live your best, most balanced, life.


Restorative Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of comfort and ease to facilitate relaxation and health”

— Judith Hanson Lasater


For more info please reference the book Restore and Rebalance by Judith Hanson Lasater

My Daily Vitamin (aka mini 20 minute Restorative Practice)

  1. I put my pajamas on! Or at least change out of my tight yoga pants. Just to make sure I am fully comfortable.
  2. I let my husband know I am taking some quiet time for me. I also silence my cell phone.
  3. I close the door to my yoga room, lower the shade and get my props in place. If a cold day I turn on my personal room heater by Taotronics.
  4. I set a timer for 20 minutes. I recommend checking out a couple of cell phone apps that create pleasant tones after a set time = “Insight Timer” and “Meditation Timer & Log”. Note these apps still work even with your phone on silent mode for texts/calls.
  5. I get comfortable in my reclined restorative pose (aka my nest). Being mindful to scan the body for any prop/clothing distractions or discomfort. The body enjoys symmetry when resting. The pose I usually use is called the Basic Relaxation Pose.
  6. Then I go through a series of steps to focus my mind (note this changes daily, this is just an example)
    • Focus my attention on the literal center of my brain.
    • Starting from my head I work my way noticing sensations in parts of my body. Traveling down one arm at a time, even noting each finger. Reminding myself to release.
    • Next I go through a breath count starting at 27. Inhale 27, Exhale 27, Inhale 26, Exhale 26, etc. If I lose count (which I normally do), I use this as a sign it is working.
    • After I feel more at ease, I use the remaining time to focus on the sensations of me breathing. Normally centered around the low rib cage movement.
    • When distracted I turn to one of the two mindfulness techniques. Inhale I think “So”; Exhale I silently say “Hum”. Otherwise I notice my thoughts and acknowledge them without trying to figure them out. That is a positive thought, there is a neutral one, that one is negative. Just labeling and then letting myself go back to my breath focus.
  7. I come out of the practice moving slowly. Landing in a fetal position on my side for a minute and then upright seated position.
  8. Sometimes I will journal for a couple minutes or at least write down what came into my mind during the practice.
  9. Most important of all is that when it did seem “impossible” for me to rest fully, I remind myself that it is a journey and a practice. Being gentle and kind to myself and knowing that I will try again tomorrow.