Our last Savasana

My first teacher made it clear that Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is a very important posture to practice. It’s the pose that the majority of yoga classes end with, lying down, well supported with an open chest and heart. He explained that leaving a yoga class before Savasana, or cutting it short, was not a choice to make lightly. But to save those occasions for when it is necessary. He also pointed out how the pose is considered a very advanced pose in B.K.S. Iyengar’s books. For many of us, this is initially surprising. After all, all you do is lay on the floor, doing nothing. Or, at least, that is what might be our first impression. Over time I realized through my own experiences why this is considered an advanced practice. To lie down, in complete physical relaxation (let’s just get that one down!), with a relaxed nervous system (how many of us know even how to get there?), completely awake (not falling asleep..), and aware (i.e. being fully present). That is nothing but a tall order for the vast majority of us.
I have appreciated this pose over many years, seeing the challenges it brings me, and gratefully appreciating it’s healing powers. Over time it led me naturally into the practice of Yoga Nidra, the meditation that traditionally is practiced lying down with a deeply relaxed physical body. But over the last few weeks I have gained a heightened appreciation for the pose, especially so in regards to the ability of letting go. I often speak of letting go of physical tension while teaching this pose, as well as internal tension, in our minds and hearts. To learn to surrender, as that same teacher would encourage me to do. Learning the art of allowing all that is, in this present moment, to be just the way it is. I can’t change it, so why fight it? It’s a great help in life to be able to let go of events, wishes that don’t come true, emotions, things that are said or done, and even people. Additionally, beyond all that, I now see how helpful this practice is for the final letting go that we all have to do one day. The letting go of the body we are in, of life as we know it, and of the people that we love.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine made a comment about the journey that his beloved wife had started. The journey towards this final letting go, what we in everyday language call dying. “I guess she is getting ready for her last Savasana” he said with a little smile. In that moment I realized that it was indeed what she was doing, although I had never thought about it in that way. I know this makes many of us cringe with discomfort, that we prefer to stay as far away from death as we possibly can, not think about it if we can help it, and not speak much about it either. Which unfortunately leaves us utterly unprepared when the time comes. And the time will come. This is the one journey that we will all share, along with being born.
The process of our final letting go is different for each and every one of us, and at the same time, the journey is similar in many ways. At some point, even if it hasn’t been dominant in our lives until then, truth starts to fill the space. Within us and around us. To have the privilege to spend time in that realm of truth, is an immensely beautiful gift we offer each other. If we haven’t let go of the bullshit yet, most likely we will. To me, there is nothing more meaningful than sharing time with other people in truth. Be it while we are alive, healthy and full of life, or when someone is on the journey of transitioning out of their body.
I will continue my practice of Savasana, so to drop as much of the bullshit as I can, making it possible to live within truth today. I will also keep practicing to become more and more familiar with complete surrender. Preparing for when the time comes where I need to let go all the way. It seems like a worthwhile practice.
“Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go”
J. Kiddard