Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Job is to Help You Die

Savasana. Corpse Pose. Resting Pose. That pose at the end of every yoga class where you let go of all of the work. All you do is lay on the floor, but how deceptively simple is that? You let go of all regulation of the breath, all holding of the muscles, all chattering of the mind, and let be. The ground supports you and you simply are. As so many yoga teachers say at this point: "Nothing left to do."

Ironically, it is often referred to as one of the most difficult poses of a practice. People scoff at that, because how difficult is it to lay on the floor for five minutes? It's pretty damned difficult for a lot of people, and I see it every day in my job as a massage therapist.

I see people who get on my table who can't lay still for five minutes, let alone an hour. They twitch, they itch, they adjust; for some injuries or years-old holding patterns simply won't let them lay comfortably. In other cases, unacknowledged guarding or patterns developed for safety has them practically hovering over the table, ready to spring up and run out the door to do the next thing that needs doing. People will lay there, their head face down in the cradle, eyes open, mind and mouth chattering away in an attempt to focus on pretty much anything but what they are feeling as I work out the knots.

And it's all OKAY.

Because my job is to help you die. My job is to help you find Resting Pose, Corpse Pose, Savasana. My job is to help you feel that body you've been ignoring. My job is to help all those poor muscles that are constantly in a state of DO NOW to let go and do nothing. My job is to help you become one with that table, to relax and let go and simply be. While we are in session, there is nothing left for you to do.

But moreover, my job is to help you to that state. As with any yoga class, I (or the teacher) can make the suggestion, but it is the student/client who in the end needs to do the work. I can help the muscles see where they need to go, but in the end it is the client who must take that final step and allow them to release. True savasana is something you can spend a lifetime working on, bit by bit. And the dirty little secret is, laying there on your back, letting everything go and exposing every last vulnerable bit of you? It can pretty terrifying.

So what a magical moment it is when I am done a session, and I look to see the client completely relaxed, completely at peace. Completely in Savasana.

What a gift.

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