Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 58 - Dealing with Grief

(The thunder blot: a simple shoulder & chest opening pose)
(Simple locust pose: back strengthening posture)

Grief is a really tough emotion to deal with. It's oppressive, suffocating even, and seems never ending. Yoga's not a miracle cure, but it helps to make sense of the emotional experience and provides a little reprieve from suffering and gives hope.

Today, one of my long time students one-on-one burst into tears at my simple "How are you?" Her best friend of 32 years died on Friday after a long battle with cancer. Heartbreaking news at the beginning of a suyra namaskar practice, but if you can't cry in yoga, where can you? We talked for a while about her friend and then we decided use our practice to elevate her happy memories and dispel the grief.

Surya Namaskar is a highly effective practice for dissolving sadness and other emotional blockages, as it encourages movement throughout our system and brings light. Back bends are also releasing, but we must consider how fragile we feel, as doing many deep back bends can stir up a lot of emotion and can be overwhelming.

We did 72 sun salutations, focusing on fluid, graceful movement and on stability. We added standing poses, opening poses for the chest and simple back bends like the ones featured in the photos above. We finished with a meditation. She said she felt better, so I suggested she visualize green light around heart in order to continue her healing process, as I know this has helped me in the past.

If you have any other suggestions on how to deal with sadness and grief, please share them.


On a lighter note, here's the video of the Eka Pada Urdhva Dandurasana Salute
I said I'd put up:


  1. when my grand mother passed away almost 2 years ago, I spent an evening at the SPA in silence, thinking about the meaning of life and all... I remember there was this bright shining star that I kinda of tought spoke to me saying that she was fine, she finally came to be with her husband again... like she wanted too for the last 20 years... to this day, when I see this star, I think of them... happily checking upon us on the lovely star! after I went to my yoga class and I too ended up crying... also I spent lots of time at Centennial park walking in the path, between trees... they generate so much energy and help me fill out the emptiness I felt...

  2. that sounds beautiful. nature has powerful healing properties. thanks for sharing.