Nevertheless, grieving is a natural process, and time heals all wounds. Sitting with grief and all the other feelings that are attached to it, can be very uncomfortable and challenging, and we may find ourselves trying to speed up the process. But if we rush grief, we will only create more grief. Yoga is a very therapeutic practice and can help with grief and loss. It can help to kickstart the healing process and be a support along the way, whenever you may need it.
Grieving can be difficult, especially if you lose someone dearly beloved. Accepting a loss does take time and unless you find a way to handle your inner feelings, you may have a hard time really acknowledging and accepting what has happened. Yogic breathing practicing, known as pranayama , can help regulate emotions, especially if you’re feeling anxious. Focusing on the breath helps to bring us back into the present moment – a place we often leave when we lose someone. When we come back to the present, we are able to focus on and work through what we’re feeling in that moment , and not worry about the future or the past.
The physical practice of yoga, asana , is meant to be a moving meditation, a way to bring us into our bodies and the present moment. Focus on the breath is key, especially during challenging postures. This same concentration and ease can help when dealing with loss. Focusing on our breath during a difficult pose teaches us that we can breath through the tough moments in our life, like when we lose someone. It’s a way of channeling grief into strength. The physical practice will take you on a journey of self-discovery and help you to find inner peace, which is exactly what you need when handling feelings of loss.
Many people think that yoga is all about the physical benefits of strength, agility and flexibility. But yoga is all about you, inner peace and finding your true self, through meditation and movement. Exploring the inner-workings of our mind and heart is never an easy endeavor and will often require proper guidance as we all have some kind of inhibitors. One way to go deep is through the practice of pratyahara , or withdrawal of the senses. When we withdraw all, or even one or two, of the senses, we are able to explore a deeper meditative state. This can be done while practicing asana or in a seated meditation. Sometimes lying in savasana with a cloth over your eyes is enough. The aim here, with all these yogic practices, is not to help you forget about your pain, but to channel and focus those feelings and to start healing from the inside out.
When we experience grief, we will often wish it to go away, at any cost. We also hope that it won’t last long, and sometimes we only experience it for a short while, or in bursts. Tom & Birgitt Turner, who founded Affinity Funerals , say that grieving will take longer than people would anticipate, and that it is unpredictable. It takes time to recognize how we experience grief, as it’s different for every person and situation. But all these yogic tools can help us become more present and aware of our feelings and thought patterns around grief, so that we can better handle the stress the next time it surfaces.
At the end of the day, grief isn’t a bad thing. When you feel grief, it means that you are working towards accepting a drastic change in your life, for which nobody is prepared. But you have the choice to work through it in a healthy way. Try as you might, but masking your pain will only cause more suffering, and you will only have a harder time going through the process. Yoga helps us to connect to our inner selves and work through the pain, rather than hide it away. It won’t be easy, but it’s better than the alternative of not dealing with our feelings at all.
You are strong and loved.
By Inner Fire Luminary Chrystal Pearl
It was September 7, 2016. I had been working with a therapist for a few months to help me steer my way through some roadblocks. The discussion topic for this particular day was mission and creation.