Yoga Can Help You Better Handle Grief By Aadil Palkhivala
Photo by Dmitry Kotov
The death of a loved one can leave a hole in our lives. Time goes on, but the feeling of loss remains. Most people say the loss never goes away completely, and for others, it might start to overshadow everything in their life.
The things that they used to enjoy may suddenly seem pointless; we lose our appetites, and even the colors seem dull and faded. Nothing seems to help. While we can never bring our loved one back, there is a way to keep the connection with them alive, as well as finding a new overall spiritual fulfillment. Yoga can help people deal with grief. Though primarily thought of as physical exercise, Yoga also develops our spiritual and mental wellbeing.
Here are some of the ways that Yoga can help bring comfort to the bereaved and restore the vibrancy of life for the survivors.
Clear your mind to find connection with your lost loved one
Clearing your mind is not the same as forgetting. Let all of the clutter fall away and reveal the true connection with your loved one that remains. Meditation forms a refuge of calm away from the worries of the world and helps to focus on the essential connection with your lost loved one and cope with their passing.
Find focus and purpose
Meditation helps you focus your energy, thoughts and emotions. You can use this to help yourself become the person and achieve the goals that you’re loved one wanted for you. You can be proud of yourself and have them be proud of you.
Be at peace
With Yogic meditation, we enhance our connection to the universe. We can find comfort in the fact that death is just as much a part of nature as life. It is simply a transformation of energy. We find that our loved ones are still a part of the world, and still a part of us.
Mutual support with others
Yoga is not a road that you must travel alone. Sharing your experience with someone else who is also grieving can give solace to everyone. Being able to at first lean on, then grow with other loved ones will bring you closer to each other and to the entire world around us. You can multiply the therapeutic essence when you share it.
During mourning, frustration is common and even when we need to do something, we can’t. Yoga can help in a myriad of ways. You can feel productive simply from the physical improvement you get from the asana, but you can also feel your energy flowing in a positive manner. This ties in with your connection and loving memories of your loved one. They would not want to see you suffering.
Regulate your body
The physiological toll that grief takes can sometimes be underestimated. You may stop eating or even eating more for emotional comfort. Your sleep patterns may become disrupted and your overall health may deteriorate. Your emotional health can also deteriorate, with overbearing feelings of sadness, anger or apathy. With yoga, we can direct this energy in a more positive way and cope with grief in a way that keeps us healthy and focused on the blessings we’ve received from the time we had with our loved one.
Deal with real world problems
Even when we are in mourning and trying to cope with a devastating loss, there will still be real world problems to deal with. Bills, arrangements, your job, etc. will all still be there, no matter how incapable we feel we are to take care of them. The journey to a better wellbeing starts with small steps. Meditating and Yogic asanas help us find our center and our strength, which leaves us better prepared to handle everything else.
When we lose a loved one suddenly, we may be haunted by the feeling that we didn’t say good bye properly. Through meditation, you can find the quiet center that transcends all of the earthly cacophony and allows you to completely and soulfully direct all of your thoughts, love and essence to your loved one and tell them goodbye, as well as share the peace of all nature with them. Even though you can’t touch them in the physical sense, you will feel their love in a very real way.
Aadil Palkhivala is known as “the Godfather of yoga in the west” and the “teacher of teachers.” He is author of Fire of Love and founder of The Alive and Shine Center. Visit online at aadil.com and aliveandshinecenter.com