Shivasana also known as Corpse Pose or Relaxation Pose is what is usually conducted at the end of a yoga class. Participants would lie on their backs, on their matts, on the floor.
The pose, although seems static, involved some activation such as placing palms upward, legs slightly apart, and requesting that every part relax, or becomes released of tension.
In 2003, I opened a little yoga studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario called “Movement from Within”. At the time, when I would say “yoga”, I got a number of faces that questioned what that was. Some even asked “yogurt?”.
In this plaza, there was a CIBC bank, and at the time my very good friend Tracey worked there. This afforded us the proximity to have lunch together at least once a week.
Tracey, was a great support in the days of me opening in this retail space. She even joined some classes.
Tracey loved to move her body, and enjoyed the sequences of movement. However, when it came to Shivasana, she was ready to escape. She tried bearing with it, but I could see how some part of her always needed to wiggle. Instead of feeling more relaxed doing Shivasana, this felt like torture for her.
Eventually, Tracey stopped coming to class altogether. We never broke the code of Tracey’s body and why relaxation was so difficult for her.
For others, Shivasana is a welcome integration of all the poses and breathwork experienced in a class, and a release of tension.
These days when I teach my adapted yoga classes, the relaxation takes place sitting in a chair, with feet on the ground, and the back supported. I keep this section short, so that participants can follow their breathing and notice places in their bodies that need to release tension, but not get stiff from the lack of movement.
My dear friend Tracey passed away on December 1, 2023. The last few days of her life she spent in hospital, mostly under deep sedation. Her husband told me that she would be wiggling and trying to turn her body when the sedation was lightened. My friend was likely feeling that this was like torture.
I dedicate this blog article to my funny, big hearted, one of a kind, and wiggly friend Tracey Cunningham. May you be off wiggling around and free in your body.