MARCH 2014 ~ Prana

This month we finally arrive at spring, the season of renewal, new life; the season of the sun shining on my skin again, of birds chirping and of winter’s dysphoria melting into spring’s joy.

Just as we finally approach this season of life, I can’t stop thinking about death.

In my therapy practice over the last five months, I’ve supported an unusually high number of people through their grieving process. I’ve lost a friend and mentor and several people close to me have been diagnosed with cancer. This has all led to my feeling very heavy and sad.

Two weeks ago during a yoga practice I found myself deeply aware of the asana or pose I was in. Savasana, or corpse pose, is a pose of deep relaxation and of letting go. And, maybe because I’ve been thinking so much about death lately, I really started thinking about myself as a corpse. More accurately, I started thinking of myself as the body alone.  Air flows in.  Air flows out.

Prana is the Sanskrit word for life force. It’s also the word for breath. Breathing in… Life in.  Breathing out…Life out.  Breathing in…I am Life.  Breathing out…I am Death.  Prana in.  Prana out.  I sat at the top of each breath and stayed in the infusion of Prana and I sat at the bottom of each breath void of Prana.

Strangely, I found each experience comforting in its own way.

I don’t know how much time my body will walk around on this planet, infused with Prana. I do know that there will be a day when the Prana slips away with my last breath.  I also know that many of my moments will be filled with life and lightness and other moments will be heavy and dark and seem void of life.

But as long as the heart is beating and the breath is flowing I can choose awareness; awareness of wherever I am in that moment. And in each moment I can be aware of my breath and of being filled with Prana; filled with the breath and with life.

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