Falling Asleep in Savasana

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Yoga “Stuff Happens”

As a yoga teacher, I often peruse the Internet for new ideas for my classes.  The thousands of choices to pick from (including YouTube videos, downloads, yoga web sites and blogs) can be overwhelming and a real time suck if I’m not careful. Mae West summed up my passion for yoga when she said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” For me, doing yoga, and knowing all I can about yoga, falls into that category.  

In fact, it’s through this fascination with researching yoga that I had the pleasure of coming across Charlotte Bradley’s newsletter blog and website, “Yoga Flavored Life.

Even though we have never met in person, Charlotte and I seem to share many of the same perspectives. We both love doing and teaching yoga. We both love to research yoga. We both want to educate about yoga on and off the mat. We both have twins.  Our twins are the love of our lives but they also drive us crazy; which brings me back to the need for much yoga in our lives.  This cyber connection that we have formed has led us to a new idea:

I will be offering a blog specifically geared for YOGA TEACHERS wanting answers and interaction regarding silly but specific questions about teaching yoga. (Sounds like a Monty Python title.) Read on. I promise that the question of the week is listed below. You have to learn about me first. Grab a coffee and put your listening ears on for just a minute.

In my yoga research, I noticed that there seem to be very few blogs that deal with quirky, real life questions about what happens as we teach our yoga classes. For example,

  • What do you do when someone breathes really loudly the entire class and it’s distracting?
  • What do you do when someone farts or their stomach gurgles constantly?
  • What is your worst manipulation nightmare?
  • What direction do you prefer for mat placement in your classes and why?

If you’re thinking, “Farts and yoga in the same sentence? Eeew!” then perhaps this blog is not for you. Keep in mind that I qualify as a “free spirited” yoga teacher. I have been referred to as “irreverent” (the client said it with a wink) “random” (this client said she needs more spontaneity in her life so she likes my style) and “fun.” (OK, yoga can be fun and funny!)

Please know that I take my yoga seriously and the respect in my teaching is present. However, I strongly uphold my “Senior Quotation,” proudly displayed on page 72 of my high school yearbook, which states, “To every element of seriousness is an element of humor.” (Aristotle.)  I see life with humor and that includes what happens (or doesn’t happen) when I teach yoga.  Let’s face it, in our yoga classes, “Stuff Happens.” (Quotation not by Aristotle and paraphrased, of course.)

I invite you, whether a yoga teacher or student or both, to respond to my Yoga “Stuff Happens” blog question. What “stuff” happens in your yoga classes that you want to talk about and learn more about?  Add your thoughts! Submit what questions you may have and I will offer them up for discussion. Let’s get some honest (but respectful) dialogue going on for these untapped questions! Our question this week:

What do you do if someone falls asleep during Savasana? What if they start to snore?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below! I’ll respond to this question with my insights and yours next time around.  (I can only imagine the Google searches for the fart question coming up later…)

Namaste,

Jill

Image courtesy of Rachel K 

18 thoughts on “Falling Asleep in Savasana”

  1. Kimberly, when you say you have not had this happen, do you mean to you as a yoga student or as a teacher or both?

  2. Just today in class, after a Guided Meditation, one person said apologetically, “Oh! I was falling asleep!” My friend, who led the meditation, reassured her, “It’s normal to drift off. Don’t worry about it!” The sleep of yoga (Yoga Nidra) is some of the best kind of rest. You’re not totally exhausted but you feel the surrender at the same time.

  3. I have people falling asleep during the relaxation, each and every time. Some snore♡ I guide them through a full body scan at the end of the class and, boy do hey relax. I feel this is good and take it as a compliment. When it is over they wriggle their toes and fingers and smile like babies. Makes us all feel blessed ( ^∀^)

  4. Grete, I totally agree with you and love your accurate and amusing description of people awakening and smiling like babies! Savasana gets us back to our true nature. I love the clean slate feeling it creates. 🙂

    I asked a yoga trainer about this question of people falling asleep and if there is a deeper meaning behind it. She said, “What it means when people fall asleep during Savasana is that they probably need more sleep and need to go to bed earlier.” My Zen moment was a bit compromised but I often tell people this when they ask me now.

  5. habitual snorers may want to keep one arm bent and fingers raised toward the ceiling. If that person begins to fall asleep , the arm may drop and awaken them. It is true that sleep is just what some people need at that moment, but snoring is often distracting to others and most people don’t want their snoring to be bothersome.

    1. This will help me. I practice yoga and have yet to master the awareness of the Savasana. I am inconsistent with my sleep noises, so it’s very distracting for my small yoga group, and I can’t help but feel guilty and that my yoga partners all kind of hate me for it, leaving some bad vibes post-yoga. (At least for me)
      -Carrie

      1. Carrie,
        Not sure what you mean by “sleep noises” but if you mean slight snoring when drifting off, this does happen at times. Some people can block it out and some cannot. It’s kind of like asking someone not to “breathe” during Savasana. How can you ask someone not to “snore” or make “sleep noises” if the whole point of Savasana is to be in Yoga Nidra (a yogic state of sleep?) I had a deep breather in one class and had to privately ask her to breathe less loudly for the sake of the others’ Savasana expereince. It was not easy to do this but she has toned it down and now it is not a problem. Perhaps give a try with some of the techniques mentioned in this blog and see how it goes. Keep us posted!

  6. Bonnie Di Bernardo

    I have had just about everything you can imagine happen in my yoga classes. Snoring, farting, cell phones going off, people coming in late, leaving early (can’t cope with savasana?).
    Don” get me wrong we do manage to relax and connect but I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. They are here, they are trying and hopefully getting something good from their practice. All you can do is do your best and hold the space.

  7. Karen, I like your idea of the bent arm with fingers up as a way to know one is snoring. I have a guy who always snores but he and his wife attend class together so she gives him a loving nudge. He snorts, awakens and stops. It’s very amusing and I LNOL every time! (Laugh Not Out Loud.) It’s actually very sweet. 🙂 But I agree with you that no one can experience a decent Savasana with someone snoring in the background. Growling stomach, yes. Snoring? Not so much.

    Bonnie, Yes, this blog is all about the humanness of yoga (thus the name “Yoga Stuff Happens.”) My next few posts may be about the farts and burps and cell phones. Thanks for bringing them up. It’s true that as yoga teachers we provide the space, some content, and the rest is left to the mystery of human bodily function experience whether it be heavy breathing, gurgling stomachs or gas being passed. Part of not “sweating the small stuff” is to realise that other teachers are out there wondering the same things about how to deal with the same unspoken issues. It can be a delicate subject!

  8. Charlotte Bradley

    One YFL reader emailed me to say:
    “New students especially sometimes sleep because they are so relaxed, just let them and bring them out with a singing bowl or similar chimes”

    That is generally my take too (I haven’t had any loud snoring though!). I figure if they are sleeping then they must need it so I just let it go and then hope they wake up when I bring everyone out of Savasana.

    Love hearing everyone’s experiences!

  9. Last week I fell asleep during a guided meditation after I taught yoga. (Don’t worry; it I wasn’t leading the meditation part. 🙂 It is a friend of mine who has studied under Thicht Naht Hahn.) Her voice was so lilting and relaxing I fell asleep; Not a snoring sleep, but just a gentle,”other place” sleep. Here’s my dilemna: I love the rest and naturalness of letting my body and mind go, but I hate missing the content of what is being presented. She uses beautiful imagery and when I fall asleep I feel like you do when you doze off during a beautiful symphony or a good movie.

  10. I practice yoga (am not a teacher) and I alwad fall asleep during savasana. I generally always get 8 hours a night, no matter what time i go to sleep I always wake up 8 hours later. I really enjoy drifting off but I have read it’s best not too. So confused

    1. If you fall asleep during Savasana, there must be a reason. Perhaps you are permitting yourself to let go and maybe this is exactly what you need even if you think it is wrong.

  11. Marisela Velisaga

    I am a new student, I fall asleep in a yoga class, I was dreaming whit a bunch of little kids playing in the meadow . This happened in a couple minutes. I wake up crying. I was scared for this experience.

  12. There are a couple of classmates who snore loudly during savasana. It is disturbing to me and leaves me in a bad mood after class. Though I used to love savasana, I will probably skip it by leaving early as trying to flow with the snoring has not worked.

    1. Marcia, As a yoga teacher, my first reaction is to tell you that you need to talk privately with your yoga teacher about the problem with the snoring.

      One of my clients told me that if the snoring of another client didn’t stop, she was going to leave my class. (It was more like deep breathing breathy breaths that were very distracting.) I emailed the snorer and gently asked her to be less noisy and by golly, it worked. Both clients continue to take class at the same time.

      It just broke my heart to read that you feel you have to pass up enjoying your own sweet. personal Savasana because of another’s bad habit. It’s not fair to you and your needs. The teacher may be able to address it for you.

      I have a few husband and wife clients. With one couple, when the husband starts snoring, the wife just gives him a prod and he snorts and wakes up. It can be perceived as annoying but it does do the trick. I have also thought of walking around the room and gently doing a manipultation like pressing on the person’s shoulders as a feel good thing but really, my goal would be to stop them from snoring.

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