Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Dead Body Pose
In the Bikram series Dead Body Pose or Savasana is practiced throughout the entire second half of class. I really like to think of it as practicing surrender and quite literally practicing the final letting go state; the state of non-being, or dead. It is dead body pose, after all. I am not being morbid, but when I was younger, I was so frightened of death that I literally would have panic attacks if I thought about my own death. Death is something we collectively fear -- the great unknown. What does dying feel like -- is it a relief -- is it painful? And what happens afterwards -- is there an afterwards? Well, if there is, it is not with this body. This body will return to dust. I think that whenever death comes I hope I am at peace. I know practicing dead body pose has helped me greatly with practicing surrender, and living in the moment. When we practice Savasana, we are asked not to fidget, not to adjust or move anything, but rather just accept the moment and what is happening now. Which usually is you are breathing heavier from just having done a strenuous pose, you are sweating, and you are simultaneously relaxing, recovering. Newbies to the practice sometimes feel overwhelmed at this point in the class, because they are feeling all their cylinders firing -- and are asked to just be with this excited state. This becomes a powerful thing once you surrender and can feel your vitality. You feel your heart, your body functioning, and all your attention is on your breath. You literally feel the mechanism of your body at work, at rest. So, what does this all have to do with death, and feeling surrender -- it has to do with both. Dead body pose taught me how to live in the moment and in doing so, helped quill my fears of dying. What I love about yoga is that you can make it a practice about deepening your connection not only to this life, but also to the after life. You can be a spiritual warrior -- looking at your own demise with courage and ultimately peace in your heart.