Ahh the age-old question that has plagued yogis for centuries (or maybe just the last few years…). Is sleeping in savasana (pronounced sha-VAH-suh-nuh) a small yogic faux pas, or a serious breach of the limbs? Will your teacher kick you out? Are you doing it all wrong? Or are you simply making the most of a well presented opportunity?
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!