Shavasana & Letting Go

Letting go in shavasana. Photo credit:

Yoga is a practice of letting go and creating space.

We create space in our bodies through our breath. We let go of tension and stress. And if we practice it with mindfulness and intention, it can help us let go of the past and create the space within ourselves to pursue a brighter path.

I’ve been working on building a home practice so that I can make yoga a more regular part of my wellness regime.

Tonight, in shavasana, a lightbulb went off.

The English translation of the Sanskrit word “shavasana” is “corpse pose,” and I’ve always interpreted it literally. The pose involves lying on your back on your mat, completely motionless, so it’s probably easy to see why I thought this way.

Turns out that, as with many of yoga’s asanas, there is a deeper meaning.

Corpse pose symbolizes the death of the old to allow for the rebirth of the new (to take the metaphor further, students are often encouraged to roll onto their sides into a fetal position before resuming a seated position. Of course, the fetal position is a more conventional symbol of birth.).

It typically closes yoga classes and is intended as a period of active rest during which you may meditate, reflect, set intentions and most of all, let go.

Let go of your day, let go of your stress, let go of whatever you are carrying around that weighs you down.

Tonight, I let go of my divorce.

As I lay prone on my back, the lightbulb moment came when I realized that it’s still weighing me down, and it was something of a surprise to me.

In the two years since my ex-husband and I ended our relationship, I have come to let myself be defined by it.

I’m the divorced one who doesn’t mention the D word at weddings out of respect for the happiness of the newlyweds. I’m the divorced one who doesn’t feel I have a right to give relationship advice to friends. I’m the divorced one who went through a rough time and demanded much of my friends’ and family’s care and attention.

Most importantly, I’ve believed that I’m the divorced one who monumentally failed at what is supposed to be one of life’s greatest achievements.

I’ve been carrying around that heartbreak and that sense of failure, and it’s been weighing me down as I try to move forward.

I don’t want to be weighed down anymore.

It’s time for me to realize that I don’t have to be defined by the end of a relationship. I don’t have to hurt at every reminder of what used to be. I can let it go.

“If we’re still holding on to what’s old, we have no space for the new and exciting,” said the instructor on my DVD. “Now that we’ve released and we’ve let go … we have all this new space. It’s a clean slate.

I am wiping my slate clean, and setting down my baggage.

I feel so much lighter!


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