Everyone approaches funeral planning and bereavement in a different way. For some people, it takes years of formal therapy before life begins to feel normal again. For others, moving on is a personal and internal struggle. As long as you are taking positive, healthy steps in a way that works for you, there is no wrong way to grieve.
A growing movement is bereavement yoga, or yoga grief support. Instead of asking you to talk through feelings in a traditional counseling setting, bereavement yoga allows you to tap into a more internalized and spiritual journey. Although this type of healing isn’t for everyone (and may be needed in addition to more formal support), yoga presents a great way to heal the mind, body, and spirit all at the same time.
About Grief and Bereavement
Human grief is not an exact science. Although we’ve come a long way in discovering how and why humans suffer, the symptoms of bereavement are different from person to person. Physical symptoms may include insomnia, unexplainable aches and pains, and/or fatigue. Mental symptoms can take the shape of memory loss, an inability to focus, and more severe post-traumatic stress syndrome. Emotional and spiritual symptoms can range from depression and anxiety to a loss of faith.
If left unchecked, these symptoms can develop into mental and physical health problems that can adversely affect your quality of life.
Yoga for Grief
The reason bereavement yoga exists is because it can address many of the symptoms of grief at one time. Yoga has been used for centuries as a way to clear the mind and strengthen the body, tapping into principles of breathwork and meditation to help cleanse the body. By gaining physical mastery, you can alleviate some of your pain; by gaining more mental focus, you may be able to address your loss in a better frame of mind.
Bereavement yoga isn’t meant to be a quick fix, however, and there are no guarantees. For many practitioners, it can take years of regular yoga before any tangible improvements take place. For others, there may be immediate relief simply by knowing that you’re making an attempt to heal.
Although it draws from Eastern religious ideology, bereavement yoga pairs well with almost any religion or cultural backdrop, making it accessible to all. Larger cities may have specific bereavement programs that provide a group therapy program, but these don’t exist everywhere. However, because the nature of yoga is healing in and of itself, you should be able to find a program that is willing to accommodate you. Sit down with the yoga teacher and highlight your goals and struggles. Together, you can devise a plan that allows for bereavement healing in addition to traditional yoga.