I am not surprised when I hear from so many students that their favorite yoga pose is Shivasana. I mean, what is not to love about coming to a full stop and finally resting after a busy day or active practice? Rest is a luxury in our society and many of us are sleep deprived. Which brings me back to the question; do you fall asleep in Shivasana?
I would not be surprised if you admitted that sleep is often part of the pose for you. After more than a decade of leading groups through Shivasana, it is obvious when Shivasana turns into a nap for some. Does that mean that you failed at Shivasana? Absolutely not! But you could probably use a little more sleep and rest. 😉
What is the difference between sleep and rest?
Sleep is what we do at night in bed. We go to sleep. Hopefully we can string together 7-10 hours of sleep a night.
Rest is a conscious and mindful practice that nourishes the mind and body. This is when we stop with intention and allow ourselves the time to settle and surrender to our moment.
They are different, but both are important for our health and vitality. Conscious rest can be a way to create better sleep habits. This is what we practice in shivasana. We are consciously resting. It would be a great pose to incorporate into your everyday. It will prepare you for your sleep event at night! Doing nothing with intention can be powerful.
Shivasana can calm the nervous system and promote balance in the whole body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense jaws and shoulders are invited to soften, and the focus of the entire body begins to quiet down.
Shivasana is a time of rest, but not necessarily the time to go to sleep. If you have the tendency to fall asleep, gently notice that your body needed to sleep. Next time on your mat, try to stay alert to what is happening in your body. Sensation, breath and even the feeling of drowsiness. If you do fall asleep, enjoy your nap! Overtime, you can train yourself to achieve the rest that you need while remaining awake during your shivasana practice.