Not long after Ryker passed, I decided to get back into Yoga. The practice of yoga originated over 3000 years ago in India and was developed as a way for communities to live in divine harmony. In fact, the word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yug” or “yuj,” which means “union.”
We’ve long known that there are health benefits of doing Yoga, they include
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Reduction of stress-related conditions like migraine headaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal conditions
- Relief from back pain and joint stiffness
- Improves sense of well-being, mood, and self-control
But for me, Yoga is not just a health benefit. You see when you’re coping with emotional pain; a purely mental or intellectual approach just doesn’t seem enough. Although your mind may try to think its way out of pain, it can quickly become confused or trapped in repetitive thought-patterns that actually intensify your emotional turmoil.
“The ancient wisdom tradition of yoga offers practices that unite the mind, body, and the spirit, allowing us to experience deep emotional wellbeing and restful awareness”
Through Yoga, I have come to realise that I can release the emotional toxicity stored in my body. As I stretch my muscles and expand my range of motions, shifting the bodily patterns that trap emotional pain. It’s like you’ve cleaned a room in your inner self so that healing, along with light, come shining through. This does not mean I no longer fill my pain, I do. I guess in some ways Yoga has been one of my key releases to dealing with my grief.
As Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, Ph.D, once said,
“Yoga is not merely an athletic system; it is a spiritual system. The asanas are designed to affect the subtle body for the purpose of spiritual transformation. People enter into the practice of yoga asana for physical fitness or physical health, or even because they’ve heard it’s good for relaxation, but ultimately the purpose of yoga practice is spiritual development.”
Practicing yoga has revealed what is happening inside of me. I may have started Yoga as a way to ignore my emotion’s and fixate my mind onto the actions of my body, but somehow that got mixed up with what actually happened. Yoga simply is a sweetened release of my grief. Nobody could explain it better than Kathryn Budig,
“The yoga mat is our own personal island where any emotions we feel- joy, dread, exhilaration or despair- can all surface safely here without judgement. A good yoga practice taps directly into our core and reality of what’s happening in our lives, so it can be an emotional release depending on what we’ve been denying or holding in. It’s a fabulous place for sweet release and surrender which leads to healing.”
So yes Yoga makes me feel like shit. And yes one minute you can be all happy and thinking of flowers, and the next minute you are flooded with rage and want to pick each flower til there are no petals left. But these emotions are here and they are real, and they get worked through so that they sooner or later become released.
I know I may sound like a hippy when talking about Yoga, and emotions that become realised through practice, but to grieve differently is how we all deal with the world around us. I may write and do yoga, while someone else run’s and bakes. Dealing with grieve you find ways to channel what you are feeling; because if you don’t, those feeling take over, and you become such a mess you don’t leave your bed for days. You lay there and cry. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I have done this myself. I just learned while doing it that’s not how I want to grieve my son. I want to honour him in some way that would make him proud.