How Yoga Can Help You Through A Break-Up
Breaking up with someone can feel like a small death. And it is in a way. The relationship and what it was is over. The vulnerable part of us that has opened and woven ourselves within the other person gets the rug pulled out from underneath. It can feel like that part of us has no air to breathe, and it can’t imagine how it will survive- because it won’t. That part of us that’s lived in connection with the other person is let go of. There is indeed a feeling of surrender as we accept the passing of the relationship.
There are loose ends that and gaping voids don’t make sense and it’s painful to feel that reality. This is why a lot of people don’t even want to get a little bit invested in a relationship or allow something “serious” to develop. Because the more we let in, the more we have to let go of (if the relationship doesn’t last).
Yoga might be last thing you wanna do when your heart is broken. It might seem impossible to even imagine engaging with physical activity or even eat a full meal.
We can allow a time to grieve and then eventually because of the grief, we’ll either find something ELSE to fill that void, or find more of OURSELVES. I’ll be arguing for why the latter is the option you’re better off with and how to use yoga to help you do that.
Yoga Brings You Back To You
We sometimes get lost in our relationships. It’s called “falling” in love for a reason. There is a sense of surrender and letting go and letting yourself be held by the relationship. We can also get absorbed in the other person and how they make us feel, and in certain cases that can turn into an unhealthy dependency — another distraction from ourselves.
We might try to immediately fill that void with apple pie or alcohol or sex or drugs to avoid feeling it. But those things aren’t exactly sustainable and certainly don’t substitute the value and serious growth that can occur when we let ourselves fully feel into our experience.
Yoga allows you to reconnect to your experience of you, feeling your body, feeling your breath, watching how you respond to different poses, and realizing that you can be okay just with you only.
Try starting simply, just come to a comfortable seat on your yoga mat or the edge of a chair. Sit up tall. Close your eyes. And let whatever is there resurface. Try to smooth your inhales and exhales and notice what your body feels like in the space you’re in. It’s very grounding to sit and feel and realize the world is not actually ending.
Yoga Gets Your Energy Moving
We can often feel stuck after a break-up and not know in what direction to proceed. It can feel like a paralysis — how to keep going without the other person can feel impossible and scary.
We may also literally be stuck- stuck in bed, stuck thinking the same thoughts, stuck feeling empty and sad.
Doing yoga invites you to move your body and most likely gets you out the door, assuming you’re attending a class at a studio.
Stretching and moving releases endorphins, gets your life energy flowing, and offers a chance to take a break from heavy thoughts and inner narration.
Getting your energy moving and engaging your body can also allow you space to tap into your creative energy. These moments of being with our suffering can lead to massive growth as we start to discover how to healthily cope with our experience and find ways to heal.
Yoga Can Help Provide Clarity
When we do break up, we’re forced to turn back to ourselves and sometimes we realize we don’t exactly love who that is.
Spending time and getting comfortable with yourself through a yoga practice can give you greater clarity about yourself- who you’d like to be and how you’d like to live your life.
This obviously applies for when you’re not breaking up too, but when we are going through a break up, a new space is cracked open for self-study and self growth. Yoga can help refine that awareness of ourselves and invite in healthy personal shifts that will help us align closer to our highest selves.
Yoga Can Help You Practice Detachment
No matter what, keep moving forward. This is such a simple and beautiful practice. We can tend to get stuck in making things perfect, or wait until we feel 100% ready or fully in control of the situation, or we cling to patterns that may be limiting us, but are comfortable and familiar.
If you’ve ever tried slack lining, you’ll know that there are probably moments when you start to overthink things or don’t want to risk losing your balance so you stay put with the positioning of your feet and stop moving forward.
As a result, we stop practicing slack lining and start pausing where we feel we have sense of control of the situation.
After a certain point, you realize that to improve, you may just need to keep stepping forward and balance as you go even if you think you’ll fall.
The practice of Yoga, similarly, asks you to just keeping showing up.
You’re crying, keep showing up. You’re mind won’t shut up, keep showing up. You’re nervous you’ll fall, keep showing up. You are overwhelmed with the idea of being alone, keep showing up. You’re shaking in a particular yoga pose, keeping showing up.
Your practice of yoga will greet you where you are, if you allow it to, by showing up exactly where you’re at.
In order to move forward, you have to let go of where you are.
A yoga practice can have a similar dynamic: there’s a series of poses you move through and in order to keeping moving through, you may not be able to perfect every pose. You also may have to let go of unhelpful thoughts and you may have to let go of the idea of what the pose should look like or how deep you should be able to stretch.
There’s a lot of detaching from certain pieces of the experience to allow you to connect more clearly to the present experience of you.
Sometimes we have to override our instinctual reflex or habit in order to implement something that we know will ultimately serve us better. Whether we decide to end a relationship and sit with the longing without acting on it, whether we are in a yoga practice seeing our thoughts and choosing not to indulge in them, or perhaps continuing to play on the edge of balance despite our instinct to stay put and pause.
What we practice on the mat translates into our lives off the mat. Practicing letting go in your yoga practice may offer you a greater capacity of letting go of other things in your life that no longer serve you.
Although a break-up can feel like an impossible moment to live inside of, I believe it represents an invaluable opportunity to build yourself better.
A break up drops you into a situation that you have to figure out how to cope with and as a result, you can become more resilient and embody greater depth and character in the process. It’s a chance to cultivate a more connected and nourishing relationship with yourself and step closer and closer into alignment with the personal intentions with which you live your life.
Among other things that offer support and space to heal from a break up, yoga can bring you back to the reality of simple breathing and being.
This practice has the capacity to ground, clarify, and invite you home in your own experience, finding more ease with what’s there. This ease can be very healing, even if it just starts as a moment, a small pocket of remembering that you’re here in this space and that you are okay.
Natalie Mazur is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Yoga instructor based in San Diego, California. She teaches private clients in their homes and offers weekly group classes. Natalie has nine years of study and teaching experience combined, and has taught in the U.S. and internationally.
To book Natalie for a private yoga class, event, or retreat email her now at:
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