Oh, what heavenly ease, sliding between wakefulness and sleep… at least until we hear the sound of snoring and think, “Uh-oh, that’s me!”
If you often fall asleep in yoga relaxations, I hope this blog will inspire you to also try such practices at those times when you’re more likely to remain awake.
Momentary brainwave shifts between waking and sleeping states are part of savasana relaxations: a form of meditation, but with greater chance of falling asleep, simply because we’re lying down.
Now, yoga is a light-hearted business, where we hope to take ourselves less seriously. And whilst there will be occasions when we completely fall asleep, our aim is actually to remain awake… sometimes easier said than done!
And sleeping is not the only obstacle to relaxation practice… savasana can be a challenging pose in other ways until we’re used to it.
In a class situation it’s a position that requires trust, especially for those who feel vulnerable. Some will find it hard to settle, lying eyes-closed, open-handed and on their backs.
A benefit of not drifting off is that we’ll feel more alert and energised afterwards.
Why? Because such practices help relieve us of draining nervous tensions, freeing up energy for other tasks.
I’m in a privileged position when teaching yoga.
If I’m perceptive enough I can gauge people’s mental stress.
If I’m skilful enough I can show them how to help themselves feel both engaged in their practice and at ease.
Many of us are, unfortunately, chronically knackered, frazzled and unable to relax unaided.
So it’s really no surprise that hard-pressed people fall asleep easily, once they drop the effort of holding on and begin to let go.
Releasing tension is always a step in the right direction.
Lack of rest is a common cause of suffering. It denies us an opportunity to recharge and heal.
Our nervous system has evolved to be primed for switching quickly into fight-or-flight when needed. But it’s slower to shift back to a restorative state. Nobody thrives in emergency mode, or with one foot always on the pedal.
Yoga helps restore homeostasis to a beleaguered nervous system.
The right practice will bring equilibrium and balance body systems, relieving nervous tensions, general ailments and malaise.
Sometimes we need reminding to exercise, literally, our patience, compassion and sense of humour in practice.
And hopefully, having felt the energising benefits, we’ll be inspired to keep practising… and wonder how we ever got by without it!