Today I have been experiencing grief. Rather than push it away and deny my feelings, or even worst, rather than be annoyed with myself and tell myself to get a grip, I decided to honour my feelings and where I am today and practice self love.
To move through what I am feeling, to give myself the support I need and to give myself a hug, I turned to a yoga grief practice.
Rolling out my mat, settling in, I began by noticing my breath and relaxing my shoulders, working to calm my nervous system and finding a little support from within. I needed to feel held. Not always is there someone around who can do this for me and so I am cultivating a practice where I can ‘hold’ myself. After all, it’s only me who really knows what I need in any given moment. Without rushing, taking my time, one breath at a time I began.
Starting to deepen my breath, connecting to my inner world, I began to feel the emotion of grief and tears threatened to spill. Rather than wipe them away, I allowed them to roll down my cheeks. I was on the mat to take whatever I needed and to leave behind that which wasn’t serving me.
Moving through recent trauma, I know that holding my breath, tightening, being closed, feeling fear have been natural human responses to what is going on for me, so in this yoga practice, I wanted to focus on my breath. Allowing my breath to naturally deepen, to slow down I could feel my body relax, soften and slowly let go. Ahhhhh, sweet relief. With loving awareness I checked in and began to really notice the sensations in my body.
A yoga practice can be gentle and loving, focussed entirely on pranayama, sitting with stillness and allowing the energy to flow. Sitting up straight, my spine long and erect, my hands placed on my heart, I drew my attention to breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 2 and exhaling for count of six. Deep relaxing breaths to balance out.
After several rounds of breathing, I began to add movement with a simple vinyasa involving a small sideways stretch, and a contraction. Turning my attention to my spine, I opened my heart, lifting my arms out to the sides and then exhaling, folding one arm over the other to give myself a hug.
Simple gentle yoga movements, marrying the breath with the movement is deeply therapeutic and refreshing.
As my grief practice continued, my moving meditation, I focussed on staying in the moment and if thoughts came, I gently let them go, coming back time and time again to my breath.
Twenty minutes later, remaining present with what I was feeling, allowing my emotions to flow, not denying, but accepting, I felt more calm, more balanced, grateful for where I am today and with compassion in my heart.
Using the tools of yoga is an aid to my writing. I am cultivating a daily writing practice, concentrating on short stories and flash fiction. Being relaxed and focussed, I can let the words flow.
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