The Corpse Pose

One week ago I heard a talk by Carla Anne Hart.  She has worked in children’s hospitals all over the country. Her interactions with caregivers and families alike inspired the writing in her newest book, A Child Shall Lead …How God Walks You Through Darkness with Hope, Wisdom and Healing.  In her talk Hart spoke of compassion fatigue, a term which I had never heard before.  [Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among individuals that work directly with trauma victims such as nurses, psychologists, and first responders.  Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attititude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self-doubt.]  As a person who has worked for 20 years with very sick children, their families and care givers, Hart has herself experienced compassion fatigue.  As Richard Rohr has said, “Truly loving God and your neighbor can be dangerous to your health”.  One way Hart tries to experince some balance in her life and  to cope with compassion fatigue is through the practice of Hot Yoga (Yoga practiced in a room at 104 degrees Fahrenheit).  She said that in her classes the final pose  is one of deep restoration: Corpse Pose, also sometimes called Final Relaxation Pose. Its Sanskrit name, “Savasana” (shah-VAHS-uh-nuh), comes from two words. The first is “Sava” (meaning “corpse”),Corpse Pose and the second is “asana” (meaning “pose”).  Hart shared that it is during the Corpse Pose that she hears God speaking to her.  When she is exhausted, relaxed and can no longer resist or over think, it is then that she hears God.  The Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God”.  When in your daily life can you strike the Corpse Pose and experience the voice and presence of God?



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