Yoga as a form of Death

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Transformation is such a motivator. The word transformation means 1. the act or process of transforming. 2. the state of being transformed. 3. change in form, appearance, nature, or character. I prefer the idea of change in form since the root word of transformation is FORM.

What does this have to do with Yoga? In a class a couple of weeks ago, we talked about Ayurveda and how this is considered by some a science of Life.  With Ayurveda, you follow the path to balance out your doshas and sustain better life through your food, your surroundings and many more things that would make this another title all together. See here:

In the same class, we discussed Yoga as the science of Death( gasp!). What does this mean? How could one possibly have any notion that yoga is a type of death? Back to my quote above, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. If you are not changed, you cannot be transformed. At the heart of yoga are the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which aim at transforming body and mind. Anything that transforms in nature( a true change of form)  really shape shifts somehow… apples rotting, leaves breaking down to become matter, rocks cut away by wind or water. these things die their own death of the form they once were. Death is what comes to nature and is necessary for change or growth or renewal. Yoga is all of these things. Death to previous ability, death to the person that would not do yoga, death to thoughts that hurt or food that was not fuel.

Change is scary, probably the single most debilitating thing where we can actually control our reaction to it. Many people are alive yet dead in their progress. Many people take the easy route, whatever that is at that moment. If we focused on our imminent death…. true physical death that is something we cannot change, I know we would look atthe time we have now to transform, be a new self. It may not always be our best self, but one that changes and grows up and down with life. I reflect often on my own fear and how resistant I am to transform when I need it most. if I have to choose, I need to choose the pain, the pain in life that is like the idea of being a muscle tearing and reworking after a workout. I need to feel the growth and not think about the end, when I won’t even know real physical death happens. This brings me to a quote I love, one that is spoken by someone who can agree.

“People fear death even more than pain. Its strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over.”

-Jim Morrison


Laurie Lipton


I am always inspired by artists who push the envelope and possess great talent. What I most admire is true technique. A question always arises for me: Does the artist posses the skillset and where does he/she draw the line between showing it off or that they don’t need to prove technical skill but ideas?

For Laurie Lipton her skill comes through like a knife. It’s sharp and precise with detail that you can’t even believe is pencil. Her ability to capture death in this media pushes me as I contemplate death and how intangible the idea and reality are. Starting at age 4, she grew up in a world where Abstract Art was the norm and figurative painting or drawing was frowned upon. Not hindered in any way, she continued her obsessive line/hatch technique to show the depth of her subjects


Her subject matter inspires me with her ghosts and fantasies of the dead. Her intricate fabrics and bones show a precious life to them, inanimate objects that move from the page. That ability to transfer between worlds of dead/alive and real/not real is poignant.

One of my favorite quotes from Laurie about her process is this one, “Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows… it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.” What amazing passion and intuit for the images she expresses.

I cannot say more but that I am in love with her work. Find more here

Rot, Art, Nightmares and Becoming one with the Earth

image     “From my rotting body flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.” -Edvard Munch

One of my favorite artists, Edvard Munch was tormented as a child by the early death of his mother and favorite sister. His father became pious after this passed and often displayed bouts of madness and horror to his remaining children. Edvard’s health in decline, his oppressive father and constant ghost stories paved the way for his nightmarish and macabre visions in his work. He has said to feel death coming for him. His work was meant to create tension and emotion with the artistic lines and strive toward expression of the soul. Edvard had only his art as those who were close to him continued to pass on. He was alone and left with the inheritance of insanity and poverty. The quote above makes me think about what happens to us when we pass. We leave behind family, friends and a legacy but can we continue to have an impact beyond memories? An alternative to burial, cremation or funeral pires helps us to become something else, maybe even have another life. Enter Bios Urn.. For those of you wanting to give back and not impact, what an amazing way to become part of the earth in ways that you can leave a legacy.

Requiem #1


Requiem of a bird


Requiem” is the accusative singular form of the Latin noun requies, “rest, repose”. Requiem is also used to describe any sacred composition that sets to music religious texts which would be appropriate at a funeral.

I prefer the first definition. I find it fitting then when I see anything at rest in death that the sacred composition of life is singing through them. The peace achieved in death by the one who left is something elusive and therefore sacred.

My first memories of death come from the quantity of funerals I attended in my childhood. Large families often equated to the very real idea of ‘life moves on’. What I remember most was the Ritual. From the Rosary with gorgeous as well as overdone flowers in quantities I had never seen to person after person kneeling, crying praying and often lamenting in front of the deceased who was at peace. I had no feeling of the event, no tears, no idea someone who had once impacted the world had left. There was just a picture memory of the death after death and the procession of events that followed. The mass, the lines of people, the priest, the pal bearers, the cars all in a row, the headlights, the tears, the black everywhere,  the tissues, more flowers, the dirt, the metal, the grave all alone.  The Ritual had no distinct human meaning for me as a child but it had lasting effects for my appreciation for what I witnessed with no emotional attachment. I saw beauty. I saw peace and I saw life.

What does it say about me to see so much death and remain detached? I have wondered about this since I realized what I witnessed was at best painful. What I know is I am not the only person who derives multiple definitions from Death. It informs our life,  it impacts our decisions and is the ultimate judge for how we live our life.

In the Beginning…

imageIf I am alive, why Death? Because remember you will die. How else on this earth are you to celebrate life unless you know that the end is imminent?

This blog is about my obsession with and desire to be close to ideas about death, customs and the way we fear it or celebrate it as humans.
My interests in Death range from Cultures and Customs to Literal Representations to Bizarre and Upsetting to Comic and let’s not forget Genius Execution of the idea in alternate forms.

This journey into the unknown helps take mystery out of something we see as frightening. Looking Death in the eye, opens up ideas on what not only Death means but what we make out of terms and ideas we are uncomfortable with in life.