“For a star to be born: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.” – Zoe Skylar
Recently, I wrote about the importance of play. Today, through my sugar hangover, my attention turns to decay, decomposition, and death. I wrote this around The Day Of The Dead, All Souls Day, or Dia De Los Muertos, when we honor not only those who have passed on from this lifetime, but also the natural passage at the end of all lives.
Here in Denver, the once juicy green leaves have dried, withered, and fallen, now are starting to emit the rotten Autumn scent, reminding me that everything must come to an end. Unpleasant though it may be, the fact is that death can come at any time, at any age; after a long or short illness, due to violent crime or an inexplicably tragic accident.
In my American culture, death feels like a taboo subject, like the “Great Unmentionable.” Therefore, I am appreciative of the Latin American cultures who celebrate things like the Day of the Dead. By honoring death in this way, we are also encouraged to live each moment of life fully. We remember that each new day and each new breath is a miracle, and not to be taken for granted.
According to the ancient Latin American traditions, death is not the end but instead a phase of an infinite cycle. In Indian philosophy, death is an opportunity for the ultimate transformation. The Buddha taught that death is a natural part of life, and that everything changes, nothing is permanent, and suffering is inevitable.
Our spiritual practice through meditation and yoga can ultimately prepare us for the impermanent nature of the world, and ultimately for our own death. Meditation allows us to create space to observe samsara (suffering) and be able to hold space for ourselves and others in times of loss, heartache and grief.
We end each physical yoga practice with Savasana, or corpse pose. during this sacred time, we cut off our senses to the outside world. We deepen into the stillness of body and mind. Savasana allows us the opportunity to die, decompose, transform and then rise anew.
Savasana helps us feel:
Completely free of form.
Breath breathes you.
Let go of needing to know.
Decomposition, allowing for new life.
Infinite possibilities are now open.
If you can, go outside to lie on the Earth. Allow your body to soften and become heavy and effortless. Imagine returning to where you came from.
When you eventually rise from this position, do so with intention and an awareness of the gift of being alive. Remember that each breath you take is an opportunity for gratitude and transformation.
By Elise Fabricant
Along with teaching for YogaDownload, Elise works one-on-one with clients around the globe to help them up-level their energy, turn their new healthy behaviors into habits that last, and discover how best to express their gifts to the world. Elise nurtures her creative streak by producing online courses on a balanced, purposeful lifestyle. Along with giving massage to Denverites, Elise also teaches group yoga classes in central Denver. Elise feels blessed to be able to combine her love of travel with her work by taking yoga and health coaching to workshops and retreat centers around the world. Connect with Elise on her website.
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