Grief is a response to change. And, all changes, whether positive or negative, involve loss, explained Jennilu King. As a grief counselor, Jennilu helps others deal with loss and has her own insights and wisdom on the subject.
“Grief is the heart’s natural healing process,” she told me as we sat at Panera recently talking over breakfast and coffee. “It needs space, time, care, and attention in the same way as when you have open heart surgery. After surgery you come home with support in place, information about diet, and therapy appointments. You rest. All of this is part of the recuperation process that is about healing from physical trauma. Our heart needs these same things to heal from loss.”
Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t give people space and time to heal from loss. Not meaning harm, a concerned friend or relative may tell someone experiencing loss, “you need to get on with YOUR life,” as if there is only a designated time to grieve and then it is time to move on.
Those who are grieving, however, need to take time to nurture, nourish, and accept themselves and their lives. Yoga creates this time and space.
Yoga is about healing from suffering. The purpose of yoga, according to the yoga master TKV Desikachar, is “to reduce disturbance and return an individual to his or her inherent peace and power.” For those suffering loss, the physical postures of yoga help ease the physical effects of grief and improve energy. Breathing techniques support the connection between body and mind and help create a sense of calm. Sound and meditation support focus, healing, and the movement to a space of peace.
In the context of the yoga class to support those who are grieving, the tools of yoga offer techniques to help participants cope with grief, find compassion for the journey they are on, and honor their loss. All of the practices help to create space and balance in the body, breath, mind, and emotions.
If you or someone you know is grieving the loss of a loved one and would like to explore the healing potential of yoga, please contact me. A five week “Yoga for Life, support for those who are grieving” session begins Thursday, September 5th.