Updated: Nov 24
In honour of National Grief and Bereavement Day in Canada, the following post about grief and healing is being republished with permission from
Grief is an intricate, often overwhelming, and deeply personal experience. It takes many forms, from the loss of a loved one to the end of a significant chapter in life. Amidst the turmoil of grief, finding solace and healing can seem like an insurmountable challenge. This is where the ancient practice of yoga can play a transformative role. Yoga offers a gentle and nurturing path to navigate the turbulent waters of grief, providing both emotional and physical healing. In this blog, we explore how yoga can be a powerful tool to cope with grief, offering a sense of peace and restoration.
1. The Mind-Body Connection:
One of the fundamental principles of yoga is the connection between the mind and body. Grief often manifests physically, with symptoms like tension, aching muscles, and fatigue. Yoga encourages us to tune into our bodies, allowing us to release stored emotions and physical tension. The practice helps us become more aware of the impact of grief on our physical well-being.
2. Breathing Through Grief:
Deep, conscious breathing is a cornerstone of yoga. By focusing on our breath, we can soothe our nervous system, reduce anxiety, and create a sense of calm. Breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or alternate nostril breathing, can be invaluable tools for managing the intensity of grief.
3. Emotional Release:
Yoga provides a safe and nurturing environment to express and release emotions. Poses like Child's Pose and Savasana (Corpse Pose) offer an opportunity to surrender and let go. Tears may flow, anger may surface, and that's okay. Yoga teaches us that it's vital to acknowledge and honor our feelings.
4. Finding Space for Healing:
The physical practice of yoga, through its asanas (poses), creates space in the body. This space can be a metaphor for the emotional space needed to process grief. Heart-opening poses, like Camel or Bridge Pose, can help us access and release the emotions that are held in our hearts.
5. Meditation and Mindfulness:
Yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand. Meditation allows us to be present with our grief, to sit with it, and to explore our feelings without judgment. Guided meditations can provide a sense of closure and a deeper understanding of our emotions.
6. Restorative Yoga:
Restorative yoga offers deep relaxation through supported poses. Using props like bolsters and blankets, these poses invite surrender and rejuvenation. They are a balm for the weary heart and mind, allowing us to rest and restore.
7. The Power of Intention:
Setting an intention at the beginning of your yoga practice related to your grief journey can be transformative. It can serve as a guiding light through your practice, reminding you of your healing journey.
Yoga is not a cure for grief, but it is a gentle and compassionate companion on the path to healing. It provides a sanctuary to explore our emotions, release physical tension, and find moments of peace. In the midst of our grief, yoga reminds us that we have the strength to heal, one breath, one pose, one moment at a time. Through this ancient practice, we can find solace and renewal, allowing the light of healing to shine through the darkness of grief.
Note: It's important to remember that grief is a complex and individual experience. While yoga can be a valuable tool, it's essential to seek additional support when needed, such as from a grief counselor or therapist, to navigate the challenges that come with grief. Always listen to your body and practice self-compassion during your journey of healing.
Jennifer McCrae is a graduate of HHA's death doula certificate program. You can learn more about her at https://soultransition.ca.