"Is It Okay To Fall Asleep In The Yoga Room?"

My friend Bail and I were catching up over Manhattans the other day. She had come from a Bikram class that afternoon, and was relaxed. But she had fallen asleep at the end of class.  And felt bad about it.

I laughed.

See, before I began practicing Bikram yoga, I used to sleep on my side. Curled up in a little ball. That was how my body identified with being ready for sleep. I'd get into bed, curl up and snooze away.

The Husband would joke, "You're do tiny, I can't tell here you are under the big duvet. I have to pat it down to make sure I don't jump in and land on you."

But since a few months into my yoga practice (so many years ago), I began to sleep on my back. Like a dead body. Now, when I get into bed, I lie down on my back, arms down by sides. And I fall asleep that way... And then wake up that way.

If you practice yoga, you know that this is Savasana - the "corpse pose." We do it for about 12 minutes in class (though sprinkled in 20-second segments throughout the floor series). The purpose is to bring the body at rest between postures. Allow the body to rest and re-energize. (Which is what you are doing when you sleep at night!) And then you do it for a few minutes after class, while still in the room, with the lights turned off.

The only problem is that after having practiced for so many years, I find myself falling asleep after class too. So I assured Bail that this was completely normal.

"So many people do it once they have been practicing a while," I assured her. "It means you are really allowing your mind to quiet and your body to rest."

This is one of the reasons teachers are so adamant about students not hopping up after class and leaving the room. You want your body to rest, heart rate to come back down.

"Enjoy being yoga stoned!" I tell students, as I turn out the lights.

One of my namesake teachers here in Boston reminds students, "Think about that long line for the showers after class. Would you rather be standing in line waiting? No way. Just stay in here and rest. Then get up in 10 minutes and get in line. Don't be in such a rush."

Lately, I drift off for a few minutes after class and am the last one in there. I'll open my eyes in the dark and see that everyone else's mats are gone. It's a wonderful feeling, knowing I got that nice rest.

So yes, it is very okay to fall asleep in a yoga room.