The Secret Life of Shavasana

She looked me dead in the eye and said, “Well?”

“Well, what?” I step closer to her, defensive.

“You just gonna let that shit sit there and rot?” Defiant now.

“What shit?” Anger scrunches my face into a tight scowl.

She takes a deep breath, sighs, then drops her arms heavily by her sides. “All that shit you keep waiting to deal with until…” She raises her arms again, two fingers up on each hand clawing the air dramatically in air-quotes, “…the right time.”

“Oh.” I muster a shrug and stare at the ground by her feet.

We’ve had this conversation before. A lot.

What comes next is she’ll tell me I complain about hurting, but I’m not willing to do anything about it. She’ll tell me my emotional suffering leads to physical pain. She’ll say that I know what to do.

There will be a long pause before she asks why I’m not letting go.

I’ll tell her I don’t know how.

Then she’ll give me that look. You know, the one that says, “Really?”

“Haven’t I let go of enough!?” I’ll say.

She just keeps looking at me with that “Come on, you can’t be serious?!” look on her face.

But I am, I don’t know what to do.

I tell her that.

That’s when Shavasana steps forward and wraps her arms around me. She holds the back of my head with one hand and doesn’t say anything at all. And then I cry.

Nothing loud and outrageous, just tears that stream quietly down my face.

Shavasana holds my hand, and I just keep crying.

When I’ve cried all my tears and the pain subsides, I just lie there, like a corpse.

Finally at peace—even if it is fleeting—I relax and feel my breath. My face is soft now: forehead broad, teeth unclenched, tongue plump.

Shavasana stays with me; this, the soft half of her tough love.

“I”m not going anywhere,” she says. And I believe her.


Shavasana is all about relaxing, letting go and remaining present. Don’t fall asleep! Here are some suggestions to help you be held in the arms of Shavasana.

  • Allow the inner corners of your eyes to relax away from the bridge of your nose.
  • Soften all around your ears, even down into your ear canal.
  • The skin on your forehead should be broad and flow towards your chin.
  • Relax your brain so that it floats back within your skull.
  • Watch your mind, as if watching a mouse hole, sitting with the emptiness while waiting for how long it takes for the next thought to pop out.
  • When a thought arises watch it like a passing cloud without getting attached to it.