It strikes me as a touch harsh that Valentine’s Day is a major time for ending a relationship. But (apparently) back bends and forward facing postures provides the answer in easing the emotional distress following a break-up. Now I may be a touch cynical here, but I am left wondering if people really would be saying; “You know what? I’m over you now…thanks to Downward-Facing Dog.”
To find out more about this I asked fellow yoga teacher (and co-founder with me of WriteintoYoga) Julia Green. She’s not the kind of person to be stuffing her face with chocolate and having a complete meltdown over a man (she is a former prison officer after all), but she found that even super tough Ashtanga wasn’t enough to rid the feelings of aggression and anger following the end of her relationship.
She says; “Yoga might help people find a sense of calm, allowing to forgive, letting go of negativity and distress. BUT when it comes to anger and even hate, I don’t think that yoga even recognises them as we feel them. If anything yoga connects us more with the rollercoaster of emotions following a separation – it’s yoga’s way of saying; deal with it. I think you really need to go through the frustration and aaaarrrrhhhh stage, before you get to the forgiving yogi place. That’s just being human.”
So definitely no Downward-Facing Dog helping there. More like any outdoor exercise (and preferably away from the neighbours) that’s going to allow the ‘aaaarrrrhhhh stage’ to rage through.
But Julia did reach a turning point as she explains; “As time moved on and the intensity of my emotions started to leave (the anger, fist clenching frustration, utter sadness), I found that after all that high-impact activity, yoga was by far the best in helping me to move on. This meant I didn’t need to keep sweating the adrenaline out. In fact, those exercises were actually keeping me angry, which was in turn keeping me sad. I finally found I was in a place where I just wanted to say to the ex; “You know I finally have calmed down enough to forgive you but I’ll never forget! “Which is more yogi than I want to rip your head off because you’re an utter……!”
So doing a combination of things to tackle all those emotions – high energy stuff to get rid of the internal heat before using yoga to calm the mind. Even purging those feelings further through journal writing, which is also very cathartic, and has been proven to improve mood disorders, and increase happiness…eventually.
But with any painful experience you have to do what makes you feel better, and anything that allows you to let go is a very healthy thing. Getting back to a place of calm is…well, where we ought to be, right?
To quote the philosophical author C. Joybell C; “You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason…that they are heavy.”
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