Most yoga teachers can tell you about a student (or ten) who’s fallen asleep in their class. There’s the students who take a little longer to get up than everyone else, the ones who have a good old snore, the ones who need a gentle prod once the others have left, and then the ones who fall asleep at the beginning of the class and don’t wake up until half way through (a true story told to me last week!). The lights are low, there’s some sweet music playing, a sea of bolsters and the soothing voice of the teacher. Can you really be blamed for having a quick snooze?
The first thing to look at is what is savasana really about? Also known as corpse pose (not morbid at all!) savasana is a pose of stillness. While in the west we sometimes refer to this time as our final meditation, this doesn’t have to be the case. Traditionally meditation was done in padmasana (also known as full lotus) – a pretty gosh darn uncomfortable pose for most people requiring some seriously open hips and no knee issues! Lotus pose is thought to create an energetic circuit in the body helping meditation practitioners to gain access to higher consciousness levels. In short, it feels pretty different to savasana, and I’ve personally yet to meet anyone able to fall asleep in it!
Savasana on the other hand is a pose of rest. It allows the energy from the body that was moved in the yoga practice to settle into new areas. It allows the mind time to integrate new poses, helping to strengthen new neural pathways and connections. It gives time for inner focus, to draw inwards and observe. Most importantly, it is a time for relaxation – resting the body after the hard work it has done, slowing down the heart rate, releasing tension from the muscles and signifying completion of the practice, the end of the ritual.
So, the answer to our question depends on how you view the pose. If the goal is meditation – to be present, to be consciously observing thoughts, to be connected to your inner self then yes, perhaps falling asleep is not ideal and maybe a seated pose might be best. But if we instead view savasana as our time to completely relax, then maybe falling asleep just shows how awesome you are at it! Because to be honest, if you can fall asleep within 5 minutes on a hard wooden floor, then you’ve got some serious relaxation skills going on (or your body really, really needs it!).
We say nap away! Enjoy your snooze Stretchers!
Stretch Yoga Blog
Just like you we are constantly learning about yoga, health and wellness. We love sharing our knowledge, musings and favourite healthy recipes - let us know what you think!