Yes, I do understand that this is a rather morbid question to be asking, especially on the day after Christmas, no less. Well, the fault is not entirely mine: I got the inspiration for this question from Arturo's latest blog post!
So yes, I totally admit that this is a very morbid question to be contemplating. But as James Bond famously said,
"You only live twice:
Once when you're born
And once when you look death in the face."
Whether we like it or not, death is the only event in our lives that we can be dead certain about (no pun intended) after we are born. And like birth, we have no control over the manner in which we are going to die. But here's the difference: While we were not reflective beings before we were born (i.e. while we were in the womb), we are reflective beings before our moment of death. So we can at least set some kind of intention, which would hopefully direct our life in such a way that it will tend towards the direction in which we want it to end, rather than not.
Hence my question. Since my favorite activity (and presumably, many of yours too) is yoga, I would think that it would be better, all other things being equal, to die doing something that I love doing than to die doing something that makes me miserable. If your favorite activity is not yoga, this question still applies to you: What aspect of your favorite activity would you like to be "caught" doing at the moment of death?
Well, I'll take the plunge myself first. I would NOT like to be doing kapotasana (or some other backbend) when I die. Even though my kapotasana actually looks pretty good (I know, I'm being very immodest), I actually have to make a lot of effort to keep my breath even and my body in that position in kapotasana; I have yet to actualize "Sthira Sukham Asanam" in this posture. If it already takes me so much effort to keep myself steady in the posture when I am alive and kicking, I can only imagine how terrible it must be to use every ounce of my last breath on earth to hold myself in this very demanding posture. Yes, I know I do look pretty good in this posture, but who cares about looking good when one is dying?
I think I would much prefer to take my last breath in some forward bend or hip-opener like paschimottasana or even padmasana. Actually padmasana would be nice; I'll both look and feel good :-)
My apologies if this topic is very morbid. I promise that I will come up with more cheerful topics in subsequent posts. But if you are not too offended by the morbidness of this post, I would love to hear your views.