Almost a month ago I had the privilege to lead a real life shavasana. That is a real life letting go. For ever.
At the end of my yoga class, I always finish with at least 10 minutes of shavasana; otherwise known as corpse pose. This is where we lie down on our mat and be still. We try to detach from our body by not moving it almost as though we don’t have a body. We try and detach from our mind and the thoughts moving within it.
I’ve discovered three categories people fall into when it comes to shavasana. There are those who love it; relishing the chance to simply do nothing. Others find it challenging; they wriggle, squirm and look around to make sure they are doing it right. Then there are the people who avoid it completely; either they leave the class early or ignore it by practicing their own yoga, trying to perfect a difficult pose whilst everyone else is still.
The latter category are the people that need it the most. Why? Because they can’t switch off. Maybe they think it’s a waste of their time, or that they are busier than everyone else or that they need to be doing or thinking about the next thing in their day.
I like to think of shavasana as a gift to give ourselves. A gift of stillness. We don’t often allow ourselves the opportunity to do nothing and just simply be as there’s always the next action to take and the next thought to grasp onto.
Until there isn’t.
Until nothing else needs doing or thinking about. We’ll all get there one day. Each of us will experience our final shavasana; our final letting go of our body and our mind.
I never expected my yoga training would help me help my dad in his final shavasana. Similar to when I lead a shavasana at the end of my yoga class, I lead a shavasana at the end of my dad’s life. I encouraged him to let go; leave his body and mind which no longer served him very well. I said it was okay to let go. I’m sure it was a relief for him when he did.
He left a body and mind that he’d lived in for nearly 73 years to continue ‘being’ where he no longer needs a body or mind.
The ultimate shavasana.