Halloween is only a few days away, and for the young (and young at heart), it’s a time to dress up and celebrate all things candy! But in Western culture, this time of year has also traditionally been used to honor and remember those who have left this life. Catholics celebrate the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls on November 1 and 2. In Mexico people construct elaborate altars to the dead, and spend time visiting the graves of relatives for the Day of the Dead celebrations. In my own life, this time of year is the anniversary of the deaths of several relatives, and I spend some time reflecting on their lives and connecting with my family. Yoga and mantra offer us some powerful ways to honor the departed, and to make peace with death.
There are several beautiful mantras that we can chant to help our loved ones make the transition from this life to the next, and to comfort us as we transition to a life without their physical presence.
“Akal” was given by Yogi Bhajan to help the soul move on. You can chant it at least 3 times a day for 17 days after the death of a loved one.
“Long Time Sun” is a beautiful song of blessing, and you can sing it for departed relatives or beloved pets. It can be very comforting for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to offer this prayer.
“Sat Siri Akal” is a mantra that speaks to the undying, eternal nature of our souls. When we are grounded in this knowledge, we can feel peace for ourselves and our departed loved ones.
Kundalini yoga meditations and breathing practices can help us to recognize and experience our connection to the Infinite, and reduce the fear of death that many people experience.
Praana Praanee Praanayam is an invaluable resource for pranayama and meditation. Meditations like “Taking Our Souls to Infinity” or “Ten-stroke Breath to Experience the World Beyond” can help us to reach beyond our physical experience and connect with our souls.
Dying Into Life : The Yoga of Death, Loss and Transformation has a wealth of information about death, and can be a great resource for those who work with the terminally ill, or anyone who needs help preparing for death.