What is snoring? Is it a disease or an immoral act? Is snoring related to brain functions during deep sleep or is it a manifestation of the autonomic nervous system?
I studied the philosophy of snoring for many years and found that dogs were never snoring, except maybe old dogs, but that was because they had tensions. Tense people do not snore. When one sleeps the brain remains active, because one has trained the brain to remain active even during deep sleep. There are active and dynamic races, there are passive races, and there are some people who, the moment they go to sleep, their brains are completely hypnotized, and therefore, the snoring begins.
Snoring is an act of extra-oxygenation of the system, because the body needs extra oxygen during sleep. Those who want to give up the habit of snoring should practise more pranayama. The practice of pranayama trains the entire system to maintain, conserve, and use oxygen during deep sleep. When one goes to sleep, one should first sleep on the left, and after some time turn on the right; when one sleeps flat there is a higher chance of snoring.
However, in my opinion, snoring is not a disease and if one’s companion is snoring, they can practise yoga on the sound. Snoring is not a monotonous act, it has many forms. One form is like that of a cat, or the same as one breathes in ujjayi. There are many forms of snoring like the roaring of a tiger and lion roaring.
French people have certain expressions in their language, and sometimes while snoring many people imitate this French expression. It is a beautiful form of snoring.
It is an interesting exercise to witness someone snoring. What will happen if one keeps on listening to the snoring for some time? One will also start snoring, because it indicates absolute relaxation of the brain. It means that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous influxes are quiet and the autonomic nervous system is functioning.
Most dreams take place when one is snoring, because the manifestation of dream consciousness is a result of the autonomic nervous system, rather than the sympathetic and parasympathetic. Their effect is entirely different. The moment the autonomic nervous system comes into operation, one has sensations, feelings, dreams, visions and flashes.
In yoga one tries to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, ida and pingala. When the autonomic nervous system comes into operation one has visions according to the evolution of one’s consciousness. If the awakening is in mooladhara, the experiences are according to that. If the awakening is in swadhisthana or manipura, then the experiences are relevant to that chakra. Therefore, if one is not snoring, one has to learn the art of snoring.
I do not suggest a cure for snoring, because it is during snoring that dreams come. This is the reason why meditation should be done in an erect posture. If meditation is practised in shavasana, the flat posture, the moment meditation takes place one is going to start snoring. Therefore, when one meditates in padmasana or siddhasana or siddha yoni asana, the snoring will be milder, softer and sweeter. Sometimes, when people meditate, they may find that the person next to them is breathing deeply and noisily, and if asleep, will snore.
I never use the word snoring. I have replaced it by the word roaring. Whenever I go to sleep I say, “I am going to roar.”
—20 August 1984, Château Theyrargue, South of France