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Snoring in Savasana?

by Andrew Gille

I don't purport to be a yoga master, I've recently started enjoying Bikram Yoga at a studio in my hometown.  I wanted a way to increase my flexibility because I'm one of those people that runs without stretching before or afterwards and it is starting to catch up to me.  I feel great after a yoga session and really look forward to my classes.  Of all the asanas that we perform I have to say that savasana or "Corpse Pose" has got to be the hardest.  If you know anything about yoga you probably wonder what I'm talking about.  Corpse Pose is basically just laying there.  Savasana is usually done at the end of a class for about 5 minutes while some rhythmic music plays softly in the background.  It is supposed to be a time to deeply relax, abandon yourself to calm thoughts and cool down after your yoga session.  The problem for me is that it is rather difficult for me to remain that still for that long without thinking about things like the bills I forgot to pay or how I'm hungry and my stomach is about to make noise that the entire class will hear.

Yesterday, I thought I was finally going to get this savasana down, I was relaxed, I made sure I'd taken care of all my responsibilities and I had a small snack before class so I wouldn't be troubled by the rumbles of my stomach protesting the coinciding time of the end of yoga and my usual dinner time.  The whole class was supposed to be rather relaxing, the yoga instructor turned the usual class down a notch and it was all about taking it easy and letting things go, she announced that there would be an extra long savasana this time, I was actually excited about it.  I was finally going to get this whole savasana thing down and take myself to some happy place where there was no load of wet laundry I forgot to put in the dryer or my stomach involuntarily announcing its starving condition.  I was doing pretty well for the first few minutes, drifting off to peaceful thoughts of nothingness and calm when I began to be distracted by someone's breathing in the corner of the room.  It started out like a deep breathing, a sort of "psshhhh" breathing like I would imagine someone would be taught in a lamaze class, then slowly it became lite snoring, then devolved into a deep guttural growl of log sawing.  It echoed off the walls and drowned out the peaceful drum and scimitar music, my thoughts of nothingness were replaced with memories of trying to sleep at summer camp next to this older overweight kid in 4th grade.  From there it went to almost an exaggeration of snoring, like if I were going to demonstrate snoring for some aliens that weren't familiar with our biological habits or make a sound byte for an anti-snoring device.  I started to laugh, then I felt self-conscious about that because I felt like I wasn't following the non-judgmental and accepting sprit of the class.  I looked over at the girl with whom I go to yoga and I could see she was doing her best to keep her composure as well and it just made me want to laugh more.  Finally it was mercifully over, I think the yoga instructor actually had to wake the guy up, so we weren't stepping over him while we returned our blocks and rolled up our mats.  

Since this experience I've done some Googling and haven't really gotten a definitive answer on whether or not sleeping is really acceptable during savasana.  So yoga experts, what's the call?  Is it okay to drift off till you're snoring like my 4th grade summer camp bunk mate or should this be a time of deep but conscious thought and relaxation?  Am I just a judgmental yoga jerk who can't let go enough to overlook this natural human condition or am I right to have wished I could have thrown a pillow at the snoozing yoga practitioner which was the cure for my summer camp nemesis?