Yoga for Grief (off the mat)

To those who participated in our first session of yoga for grief (serving Lafayette IU Health Hospice Groups), THANK YOU.  We explored basic breath, body and mind awareness as a way to notice and return to ourselves especially after loss.

We started with a few easy standing stretches, seated breath awareness, guided meditation and guided relaxation. Before we summarize the 6 techniques we practice, here is a quick introduction to the group.

What is Yoga?

In helping us, observe ourselves, yoga, among many other benefits, promotes healing through self-awareness.

“1    Now, the teachings of yoga.

2    Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness.

3    Then pure awareness can abide in its very nature.

4    Otherwise awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.”

HARTRANFT, CHIP. The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation with Commentary (Shambhala Classics) (Kindle Locations 247-250). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

Why Yoga and Grief?

  1. Back to the body as a way back to living.

“Mindfulness lets you expand your view by placing you in the middle ground between denying your pain and overindulging in your suffering. From that vantage point you can observe the whole experience with a sense of openness to whatever arises. You stay in contact with the entire scope of your existence, and you experience grief without becoming grief itself.”

Stang, Heather. Mindfulness and Grief: With guided meditations to calm the mind and restore the spirit (p. 18). Ryland Peters & Small. Kindle Edition.

  1. Learning to hold contradictory feelings of sadness and joy, anxiety and ease. 

“Yoga teaches us how to hold seemingly opposing thoughts, ideas and experiences together at the same time. We can be in grief and live a wholehearted, connected life at the same time.”

Yoga for Grief and Loss: Poses, Meditation, Devotion, Self-Reflection, Selfless Acts, Ritual (p. 19). Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Kindle Edition.

  1. Leaning towards self-aware hope and away from hopelessness.

“The principles of yoga complement the ultimate goals of therapy: self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-efficacy, self-regulation, and whatever individual goals you and your clients may hold for their optimum well-being.”

Weintraub, Amy. Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management (Norton Professional Books (Hardcover)) (p. 9). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Today we practiced 6 techniques:

Technique 1: Body alignment in mountain pose. Stand here and now.

Technique 2: Breath awareness: Quality of Breath: Temperature, Rhythm, Texture, Depth

Technique 3: Counted Three Part Breath Practice (inhale 4- exhale 6-pause 2)

Technique 4: Six-sense awareness (eyes, nose, ears, touch, taste, mind)

Technique 5: RAIN Mindful Meditation (Recognize, allow, inquire, natural)

For more information look to the work of Tara Brach, https://www.mindful.org/tara-brach-rain-mindfulness-practice/

Technique 6: Healing essential oils: Lavender (ease), orange (energy-creativity), ylang-ylang (joy) combination

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Join me for Gentle Yoga at Morton Community Center, Wednesdays 10 -11:15am and Monthly Meditation at Community Yoga, donation based and usually on the second Sunday of the month, 7:30 -8:30 pm (check for details and to register online).

If you are interested in individual or group grief counseling, let’s talk. As a certified Grief Recovery Specialist, I hope to nurture self-care and hope.

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