Savasana And The Art Of Embracing Death
If you have ever done yoga, you are probably familiar with the final relaxation pose - Savasana. You are supposed to deepen your breath and tune out any crowded thoughts, drop into your breathing and relax, making it actually SO challenging. If you can achieve this relaxation, benefits to the pose can include:
- Relaxing the body
- Reducing headaches, fatigues, and insomnia
- Helping to lower blood pressure
- Calming the brain and helping to relieve stress and mild depression
The word is rooted from the Sanskrit word Sava, which literally means corpse. It is a pose that represents death or dying, which is an interesting thing to meditate on within itself. In the terms of yoga I always thought it was interesting to imagine whatever negativity I wanted to release during my practice to sort of die in Savasana, it left my body during my practice, and corpse pose is it’s funeral. It is where it goes to rest, I say goodbye, it dies. Then after, I roll over onto one side, mimicking the position in which I first experienced feeling within my mothers womb. I can then be reborn, into a different state of mind, hopefully relieved of my negative thoughts and energy, or perhaps just simply able enter my day with a renewed perspective.
*side note - obsidian is a great tool for communicating with our ancestors and lost ones, or exploring past lives. Read our blog post on the history of obsidian here
Even beyond my yoga practice, I have found it useful to meditate on small deaths of certain aspects of my life. What is not serving me, what do I have to let go of, what aspects of myself must die to enable my growth as a person? Maybe it is an ego death, a death of an addiction, an unhealthy attachment, or a toxic relationship. It is often quite difficult to let these things die because the thought of completely letting go seems not only distant and challenging, but scary and unfamiliar. Our subconscious will cling to these things until it’s last breath, these are fights to these deaths, not a blissful slip into the unknown. It is often quite a big, wobbly, dangerous step into the unknown.
The topic of death often makes us uncomfortable. It is associated with fear, pain, and loss. But it is important to recognize that in many cultures, death is celebrated and welcomed, as it is seen as a natural fate, a place where our loved ones go, and a place not to be feared. Chances are, this doesn’t make death any easier to accept when it appears in your life. Savasana prepares us to accept these sensations, as well as the the shift that begins to happen when we let go of something completely. In this pose, we have to accept in one moment of our busy day to day lives, the stillness. We have to commit to actually lying there and doing nothing. In this pose your body is at rest, and hopefully your mind as well. As you come back into your body, you become aware of your sensation and breathing - your pranyama, your chi, your life force.
Learning to embrace this stillness, and find peace in it can not only help us come to terms with our own mortality, but also perhaps the death cycle of unwanted aspects of our self and our life.