Grief is the heart-breaking feeling people experience after they’ve suffered a loss. This loss may be from an illness or death, somebody leaving home or moving away, someone changing, physically, emotionally or mentally, and is no longer what or how we expect they should be. It could perhaps also be due to a change of residency, getting married, or becoming pregnant. Regardless, we grieve the significant changes that take place, as we come to realise life as we knew it, will never be the same again. Even if we have a tremendous gain as a result of the change, such as moving to a beautiful new home, we can still grieve the loss of the comforts of the old – the friendly neighbour, the favourite cafe nearby, the customs we had in the home. We somewhat expect grief to arise around death, but it also shows up ‘unexpectedly’ in other areas of life.
While everyone experiences grief and loss differently, yoga can help with the process of moving on and healing for all. The combination of both the heart opening backbends and the nurturing forward bends work together to heal and mend your broken heart. The backward bends help to stretch and ‘crack open’ your chest – allowing suppressed emotions to flood out, flow freely and pass naturally. This can be confronting and challenging – even emotionally painful – but the breath-work that comes with your asana practice helps support you through this process, and return you to a place of calm. It’s very important to allow these feelings to flow freely, rather than trapping them inside. The longer you hold onto them, the deeper they will ingrain. The more you let them free, the quicker the healing process will be, and the lighter you’ll feel.
Taking a longer savasana after a backward bend will be extra nurturing for you, as will the forward bend that usually follows. Forward bends give your heart the added comfort, love, and support it needs as it rebuilds and restrengthens itself – as it starts to put the pieces back together. Forward bends are like giving yourself a giant hug. It’s not surprising in Bikram yoga, the deepest backward bend of the series (Camel / Ustrasana) is followed by the deepest forward bend (Rabbit / Sasangasana).
The asanas, breath-work, and stillness that comes with your yoga practice all work synergistically to support you through your grieving process. It’s a safe, wholesome space for you to feel your emotions, set them free, and gently put the pieces back together.
If you don’t feel up to a dynamic practice, we also offer a slower style, Yin Yoga. Yin also offers forward and backward bends, and gives extra time within the asanas for you to release stored or trapped energy.
We hope to be of service and support to you always- but especially through difficult periods of life, such as when you’re grieving a loss or experiencing significant change in your life. If this is you right now, please prioritise your yoga and self care. It’s tremendously important.