Yoga and Coping with Death

Death, as we know it, can feel like a nightmare and a sadhu's salvation. This state is so selfless in the literal sense, so uncontrolled and so very inevitable. Yet each one of us does anything and everything possible to ignore this glaring truth. We live, we collect, we possess, we own, we love as if we shall never leave all this behind. The irony of it all is that what we crave for is transient and what we deliberately and decidedly ignore is inevitable.

yoga and death

When the inevitable happens to our loved ones, to our neighbors, friends, relatives, colleagues, we comfort by saying - what has to happen must happen. So very true and yet do we actually take it seriously? Do we give ourselves solace with the same words when we face the truth in our own lives? Honestly, we don't, we break down, we blame God, situations, fate and what have you for the tragedy which has struck our lives. Why?

The answer is simple - because we are not prepared to face the truth. As a consequence we go further and further into a miserable state, punish our bodies, our minds and even our souls. Some of us overcome this silent, painful grief and get on with life: but some of us do not. Those who deal with death in a positive manner are the ones who face the reality head on, while the others seek refuge in hiding and running away. But you cannot run far, can you?

Yoga Brings Comfort. How?

Anyone who practices yoga will tell you it empowers him with an inner strength, makes him more focused, gives him an innate sense of joy at all times, makes him introspective. Yoga helps you and guides you to that position where you can discern the truth from the variables in life. You gain the strength to be calm in almost all situations, live in the present and do not allow your overwhelming emotions to crowd your mind.

Yoga asanas are the first steps to show you the way, because you learn to focus on your posture and breathing while you are at it. Your mind does not allow anything else to distract you and you gain control over your breathing, thoughts and subsequently life as we see it. This power of control will help you tide over any situation - adverse or favorable.

You develop introspective powers when you keep practicing yoga. This opens up a larger horizon and you understand there is more to life than the one we have here on the earth. Yoga awakens your true self deep within you and you just know that your loved one is apparently dead but has actually proceeded on another journey. He has shed off his outer carcass and is getting ready to don a new one, a new earthly identity or gone towards a higher world.

Daily practice of yoga at a given time helps you to calm down, realize your loved one is not physically around but is very much there looking after you. You do not wish to hurt him by wailing and regretting his death - this way you only make it worse for the one who has to go beyond. However, when you understand the soul's journey is a reality, you remember your loved one with love and respect. You honor his soul's decision and know that you will meet him soon somewhere in another world.

This is the time to practice pranayama; there are many but you can always start with the most common one known as ujjaini pranayama. You inhale; you hold and then slowly exhale - all the time your mind is focused on your breathing and your sitting posture. Once done you will find a new you - someone who does not need to blame any external being or thing for any event, rather be responsible and go through the situation in an even state of mind.

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