I know that a simple folded blanket or towel will do for a bit of head elevation but this is the First Class treatment that we all deserve, and if we’re going to lie down we may as well do it properly. Whenever I lie down for Savasana, Constructive Rest, Restorative Yoga poses or any supine floor work I use this brilliant towel fold to support my head and neck. It provides a comfortable resting place for my cranium that I can adjust for the ultimate sensation of ease. I can’t actually lie down without it now; a pointer of how this practice has increased my standards for comfort and therefore self-care. Deep gratitude to Donna Farhi who introduced me to this particular origami fold (I think she got it from a massage therapist!).
It is important when we rest and invite ease that the forehead is very slightly higher than the chin. This position creates containment for the mind and keeps our focus inward. In Savasana the head and spine needs to be positioned in a way that invites a neutral spine which is easy on the nervous system so that we can truly surrender. As a teacher I get the chance to see many people lying down in Savasana. When there are no blankets or props used it is amazing to look around and see the variety of head positions that arise! In many, many cases the spinal column has developed a curvature that tilts the head so that the chin juts up in the air, mouth open, or the opposite where the neck is so flat that there is a compression around the throat and therefore the breath. It can also simply be a case of skull proportion and shape. But even if the head is in alignment I can’t think why you wouldn’t make a bit of an effort for ease? I would recommend it for everyone in my classes.
With this origami head support I have found that I can rest for much longer. In the past when I didn’t use a support I would sometimes get a sharpness of sensation arise after 10 minutes or so on the centre of the back of my head where the weight of the skull was meeting the ground. With this set up I can rest without this unnecessary distraction and dive into deep relaxation.
It may take a few goes to really get this but I encourage you to try it out. Don’t just take my word for it, do a little experiment. 5 minutes in plain Savasana on your mat then compare 5 minutes with the origmai headfold. Notice the different sensations, and feelings that are brought about.
I hope the series of photos above is self explanatory but here is a detailed description for your first time:
You need a standard bath towel 70 x 135cm – the fluffier the better.
- Lie towel on the ground
- Fold the towel in half with the folded edge towards you
- Bring hands onto the bottom corners and fold in half again
- Keep your hands where they are and bring the corners down into the middle of the bottom edge to make a triangle within a rectangle shape
- Slide your hands along the bottom edge to the outer bottom corners
- Pull those corners in the the top middle edge to create an upside down triangle
- Carefully flip the whole thing over so you have a right side up triangle
- As you gently press down you’ll fell the midline groove where the centre of the back of your head will lie
- Place your head onto the triangle so that it’s base runs in line with your shoulders
- Lift your hands to take hold of the outer edges and tuck them under until you feel containment around the head and support under the neck and rest deeply.
Take care! x