How to Deal with a Breakup Using Yoga

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Break-ups are often the catalyst for the most life changing, fabulous experiences of your world

 

I’m quite sure that nearly everyone reading this article can agree from first-hand experience how hideously horrible a break-up can be. Not only that, but just how heart wrenchingly hard it is to get over a break-up. Even if you are the one who is doing the breaking up. It sucks either way. There’s no denying that life as you know it changes, instantly. Just like that, life is suddenly different because that special person isn’t there. You experience a whole roller coaster of emotions, and the shock can be beyond words.

I’m also sure that at least one person has told you “There are plenty more fish in the sea” or “time heals everything”. I’m not here to do that. I am here to help you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward to live the life you love.

As heart breaking as a relationship ending is, and it truly, truly is, sometimes things need to really come crashing down around you so that you can watch new fabulous things start to grow from the ground up. Just as a muscle needs to tear a little in order to heal and become stronger, these emotional bruises can help to give you the strength and resilience that you need to start moving in the direction that makes you come alive.

With endings come new beginnings, new adventures, and new chapters in your life. All of that free time that you suddenly have on your hands lends itself well to sudden bursts of inspiration, self-reflection and a desire for self-development. Not in the hopes of winning back the heart of your ex, or making them jealous, or finding someone new, but with a strong desire to be the best version of yourself ever, for you, because you are worth it.

What’s more is that your single status allows you the rare opportunity to take the time to reconnect with yourself. To ask yourself what you want in life, what makes you happy, what makes you smile, what makes you come alive inside. Once you have your answers, go do it! Follow your dreams!

Embrace that, run with it, trust it, grow with it and enjoy the journey. There are lessons to be learned in absolutely everything.

 

Time and space to heal 

What better way to reconnect with yourself and find your direction in life than through yoga, whose very meaning is “union”?

Yoga is the perfect compliment to a break-up recovery plan. A break up is often accompanied by feelings of inadequacy or guilt that leaving us feeling vulnerable, exposed, insecure, fragile and experiencing self-doubt about some of our decisions. Some people feel as though their dreams of the future have been crushed, which leads to an emotional rollercoaster.

 

Enter yoga…

 

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Yoga is a practice that helps to keep you in your heart. It is about connecting with yourself, helping you to turn loss into gain, provide you with a valuable space for reflection, a chance to gain some wisdom, mental strength and create a sleeker, stronger, post break-up body. By creating a strong body and radiating good health, we are manifesting a life filled with happiness and good things

We yogis return to our mat day after day, week after week, and month after month because we seek something that only yoga can give to us. There are very few yogis who can deny yoga practice’s (asana) ability to get us outside of our own heads. There is such a soothing quality to the rolling waves of a sun salutation, the focus required to balance in Warrior 3 or Dancer, and a sense of determination to poses such as Triangle. Not to mention the instant calmness that getting upside down in headstand creates as your nervous system settles and your worries just melt away.

 

A sprinkling of things that yoga will help you to embrace:

 

Enjoy the silence

There is a sense of gratitude in the breath. Every new breath is a new start. With each inhale and exhale we are rewarded with the opportunity to move forward, to try a new approach, take a new step, a new direction, or adopt a new point of view. Isn’t that amazing? It’s like having a totally clean slate with each new breath. Enjoy the moment, the stillness, and the calmness.  More on the power of Pranayama further down the article ;)

 

Nourish Your Body

Take the time to look after your body. Often when we enter into the post break-up period we start to lose touch with what our body needs to keep us grounded. Our pain or guilt allow us to indulge in more alcohol to sooth our hearts, which makes us lean towards more unhealthy food choices, which takes its toll on our mind and spirit eventually piece by piece.

However, once you start to practice yoga, you become more in tune with what your body and mind need in order to stay calm and focused within your world. You will be drawn to things that serve you better, that calm your nervous system, feed your heart and mind and fill you with health and wellness allowing you to make good lifestyle choices moving forward.

 

Practice Yin Yoga

During a break-up we find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands to be alone, something that some people struggle with. Yin yoga is a beautiful practice that helps us to heal both our hearts and mind. It targets the deep connective tissues of the body, and the fascia that covers the body. Yin Yoga helps to regulate the flow of energy in the body. It is an intimate practice of yoga that requires yogis to be ready to get intimate with the self, with their feelings, sensations and emotions, something that can be easily ignored during a faster paced class.

Yin yoga is simply delicious, and helps us to still our mind, learn to really accept what is happening in the present moment and focus on how to move forward. Check out my article next week on how much love I have for yin yoga!

 

Practice self-love daily

After a break up it is very important to engage in some self-love. When we are in a state of turmoil it is crucial that we go that extra mile to treat ourselves with love and respect. Book a massage, surround yourself with friends, eat well, and sleep well. Avoid self-sabotaging behaviors. Slow down and take life easy. You are fantastic after all; so don’t forget to take the opportunity to remind yourself of that each day.

 

Mindfulness and gratitude

Take the opportunity to live in the here and now. Practice mindfulness and gratitude every single day. Write down 5 things that make you smile each day. You will quickly realize how wonderful and full  your life is.

 

Smile and choose happiness 

Each morning we have the choice to wallow in our sadness, or put a smile on our face and choose happiness. Happiness creates a natural glow in everyone. When you live the life you love you will exude sheer joy that in turn inspires you to make life choices based on happiness and your own well-being. Breaks ups and any kind of stress literally suck the life out of you. There is scientific research that smiling, even when inside you feel sad, can make you feel a zillion times happier. Besides – frowning gives you wrinkles, and who wants wrinkles? No thank you!

 

Do what you love & renew your zest for life

When you start to  live the life that  you love, funny things begin to happen. The universe senses your change of direction, your search for your true authentic self.  You will begin to be open to and welcome experiences and people into your world that serve to encourage you to keep taking those baby steps in the direction of the life that was designed for you.

 

Mood & Energy

Yoga is famous for its ability to heal and bring peace of mind.

You can’t help but notice how upbeat, energized and generally chilled out and happy people walking both in and out of a yoga studio are. Even a one-hour practice works wonders on your mood, and you will inevitably learn something, some new pose, technique, skill, or mantra that you can take off your mat and carry into your daily life.

 

Listen to your authentic self

After a break up we tend to feel a little fragile, sometimes starting to listen to those voices of self-doubt. Practicing yoga helps us to open up and grow stronger. It teaches you to speak from your heart. Be truthful. Use your energy wisely. Learn to listen to that inner voice and trust your intuition, it never lets you down.

 

View life from a different perspective

Sometimes we need to get upside down to gain a fresh perspective on life. So when you are feeling temporarily overwhelmed, just take a breath and drop into an inversion of your choice! And smile!

 

Fabulous Yoga Poses

Check out these poses which will make you feel more inspired, motivated and feel more confident that you have the ability and knowledge to make healthier life decisions and keep moving forward in the direction of your bright, fabulously wonderful future!

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Standing poses demand involvement from every single part of the body. As in life, without a steady foundation in these postures, you will never be able to extend to reach your maximum. Standing poses teach you about firm grounding, and only from there can you really begin to grow, to show your true colors and start to reach your full potential! Dream big, and then go follow those dreams!

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Balance poses generally highlight our state of mind. It is extremely hard to stay steady in a pose when your mind is racing. In this way, standing balance poses provide you the opportunity to develop a sense of poise and steadiness, clarity, focus of mind and a steadying of the mind. They help you to perfect your mental focus and sense of clarity helping you to move forward positively.

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Arm balances. Being out of balance within your world is a huge source of stress and can create all kinds of personal problems and self-doubts. Finding your balance in a yoga pose can help you to develop self-sufficiency and give you that much needed confidence boost during times of change. These poses help you to develop both physical and mental strength. Once the mind is calm, so is the body.

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Backbends increase determination and will power. Extending backwards into the unknown helps you to confront your fears when life throws you a curveball like a break up. Confront your fears on your yoga mat, show them who is boss. Allow your body to feel invigorated and exhilarated and allow that to filter through to your mind, increasing your trust in yourself, your journey and your decisions. Backbends also open the chest, so they are uplifting.

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Inversions are calming poses. They allow us to see things from a new angle, gaining some clarity and a new perspective. They also help to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system.

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Pranayama – Alternative Nostril Breathing. Try this exercise for between 2 and 5 minutes every morning or evening. Or both!

  • Bring your right thumb to cover the right nostril, leaving the left nostril open and take a big inhale. Then close the left nostril with your third finger and open the right, and take an exhale through the right nostril.
  •  Inhale through the right nostril, then close the right nostril and open the left, and exhale. Continue this same pattern on each side for eight more breaths.

Benefits: Your nose is directly linked to your brain and nervous system. As a result, alternative nostril breathing almost immediately calms down the nervous system. In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of alternative nostril breathing will soften the intensity of over reactive emotional states.  The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking will become, and the calmer your emotions will become.

 

Baby Steps

Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up and keep moving on. Get up every day and do the very best that you can. Baby steps. You will get through this. Put one foot in front of the other. Remember how strong you are. Remember to breathe. Remember how many people love and respect you just the way you are. Know that around the corner are so many amazing things, so many incredible chances for happiness, adventure and peace and wonderful people waiting to be a part of your fabulous life.

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Caroline Layzell is a certified 500-hour yoga instructor, based on the paradise island of Nusa Lembongan, just off Bali, where she is lucky enough to be teaching yoga full time at the Yoga Shack Lembongan. When she is not doing yoga she can be found underwater diving with the beautiful manta rays in Lembongan. Diving is her moving meditation! Caroline came to yoga after a lifetime of marathon training, cross country running, triathlons and short distance races. It helped her to put her body back together after numerous injuries, and it is here that her passion for yoga began.  Now she is a self-confessed yoga addict! Join Caroline on Facebook, Instagram or on her website

 

Images via: @Jenn_Grosso, @grenadine54