Falling Asleep In Breathwork?: Here’s How to Stay Awake

falling asleep in breathwork

A breathwork session can unlock a myriad of diverse experiences, and occasionally one of these experiences might involve the sensation of drifting into a state akin to falling asleep. Here’s what to do if you suspect you’ve been falling asleep in breathwork. 

First Identify If it Was Sleep or a Yogic Trance

Before you do anything about falling asleep in breathwork sessions it’s important to distinguish whether you really did fall asleep or if you’ve entered a yogic trance state. A yogic trance is an altered state of consciousness characterized by heightened awareness, inner stillness, and a deep connection to the self and the spiritual. During this state, individuals often experience oneness with the universe and may gain profound insights, spiritual experiences, or a sense of peace. It is a sought-after state in yoga and meditation for personal transformation and self-realization. Although it can take many meditators years of dedicated practice to achieve this deep and healing state, some people experience it spontaneously without even trying during breathwork.

The way you can distinguish whether it was sleep or a yogic trance is when you come out of the state. If you are clear and present, just go back to the breath, it was a yogic trance. If when you come out of the state, you feel a bit groggy, just like you took a nap, it was probably sleep.

If you did fall asleep, your body may have just needed it, especially if you have not been getting enough sleep in your life lately. And even if you do fall asleep,  do not be hard on yourself – you are still having an experience. The music is still playing in your ears, you are still feeling the support of the group energetically. It is just on a much more subtle level than if you are awake.

If You Are Falling Asleep in Breathwork Sessions Regularly, Try the Following:

  1. Sit up instead of lying down when you breathe. It is almost impossible to fall asleep when you are sitting up and if you do, your head will slump over, waking you up. If that does not work, you can sit up without a backrest rest so your body has to have a certain amount of focus to stay straight.

  2. When you feel yourself starting to go to sleep, put all of your focus and intention on your breath. When you are intensely focusing on something, it is almost impossible to fall asleep.

  3. Try changing the environment. Do breathwork outside of the bedroom and consider keeping the lights on. Sometimes, a dim or excessively cozy environment can contribute to drowsiness. You may also try breathwork out in nature – the fresh air may help keep you awake.

  4. Address underlying fatigue. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep at night and managing stress during the day. Addressing underlying fatigue can make you less prone to falling asleep during breathwork.

  5. Practice when alert: Try joining group breathwork sessions at times when you are naturally more awake and alert, rather than when you are already tired.

  6. Inquire into the possibility of patterns of dissociation. Continually falling asleep in breathwork may be symbolic of a larger pattern of dissociation in life. This is a self-protection coping mechanism usually triggered by trauma – where the experience was so intense, one had to dissociate in order to cope. Dissociation can manifest as feeling like you’re floating, losing track of time, numbing of emotions, or feeling disconnected from your physical sensations. If you notice this happening in your everyday life, there are likely deeper factors at play that need to be explored and processed. You may want to consider working privately with a mental health specialist or certified breathwork facilitator who specializes in trauma. This work can be done adjunctively along with regular group breathwork sessions.

Try a FREE Month of Neurodynamic Breathwork Online 

We offer 2-hour online breathwork workshops several times throughout the week so that people can take a deep dive into their personal growth with a consistent practice. If you would like to join one of our sessions, and partake in faster, deeper breathing to connect to your body, release layers of conditioning, and step into your fullest potential, we invite you to register for free!

After your first free session, you will receive an email with access to a whole month of free online facilitated breathwork, up to 24 live sessions, which will allow you to continue your journey with the breath and sow the seeds for incredible and lasting change.

Click here to find out more about our online breathwork process.

©2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our mail-list!

Join Breathwork Online’s 65,000+ subscribers and receive news, special offers, invitations to free breathwork sessions, events and conferences, and inspirational material on breathwork, healing and personal development. Become radically self-empowered with us. Unsubscribe at any time.