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Eve lying in corpse pose on rocks at the beach

Corpse Pose – Savasana at Saltwater Beach*

I wonder how many of you readers will want to open this post on the topic of death and dying. No one will blame you if you don’t. We do live in a death phobic culture. We are acculturated to not think about death and dying. So, you can be forgiven for not wanting to broach the subject.

However, lately I’ve been thinking about death and dying. Not about my own, but about the topic and about other people’s deaths. I will be presenting a day’s seminar on the topic of ‘Palliative Care and Yoga’ in Sydney in a couple of weeks time. The session is part of an interesting yoga therapy course designed by Nikola Ellis. I think she is brave to feature ‘End of Life Care’ as part of the program.

Why brave? Because yoga therapy is often thought of in relation to fixing or curing symptoms. This is the point of western medicine practices, too. But at the end stage of life and with life-limiting illnesses, there is no future of wellness. There may be healing, but that might need another post to tease out.

Along with fear of death, western culture is not much acquainted with grief. I can certainly say this is true for me. I’ve attempted to move on fairly quickly from the various losses I’ve experienced. Or more to the point, not fully experienced. Does that mean that those many griefs have gone away? Probably, they’ve only been buried.

So, for the last week I’ve been thinking about what content, exercises, and discussions I can present to help mitigate this death phobia. And, what topics might I present relating to bereavement and grief, given the lack of my own probing.

The best I can do is enter into an enquiry about death and grief with these therapist trainees. I picture myself facilitating discussions and all of us being willing to sit with the great mystery that is the end of one’s life.

I know that yoga can help in the many stages of our lives. I think together we’ll figure out how.

*Photo courtesy of Julie Slavin