Yoga studio in Lisbon Overcoming grief with yoga Healing through yoga Yoga for grief recovery Yoga therapy in Lisbon Emotional healing with yoga

Healing Through Yoga: Overcoming Grief One Pose at a Time

Healing Through Yoga: Overcoming Grief One Pose at a Time

Yoga studio in Lisbon Overcoming grief with yoga Healing through yoga Yoga for grief recovery Yoga therapy in Lisbon Emotional healing with yoga
Grief is a profound and often overwhelming emotion that affects every aspect of our being. Whether you're dealing with the loss of a loved one, a significant life change, or another form of deep sorrow, finding ways to cope and heal is essential.

Yoga, with its gentle approach to wellness, can be a powerful tool in navigating through grief. This article explores how yoga can help you overcome grief, offering practical advice and personal anecdotes to guide you on your healing journey.

Understanding Grief and Its Impact

What is Grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss. It encompasses a wide range of emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion, and sometimes even relief. The grieving process is unique to each individual, and there is no “right” way to grieve. Understanding that grief is a multifaceted experience can help in acknowledging and validating your own feelings and responses.

The Physical and Emotional Toll of Grief

Grief can manifest in many ways, affecting not only your emotional state but also your physical health. Common symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, and body aches. Emotionally, grief can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and a sense of isolation. Feeling confused is part of this process.

Based on my personal experience, grief can also cause physical pain, muscle aches, hair loss, and more. Your body is in shock in these situations and can manifest pain and “talk to you” in so many ways.

How Yoga Can Help Overcome Grief

Connecting Mind and Body

One of the most powerful aspects of yoga is its ability to connect the mind and body. Through mindful movement and breathwork, yoga encourages you to tune into your body and be present with your emotions. This can be incredibly grounding during times of grief, allowing you to fully feel and accept these emotions.

It can definitely feel uncomfortable at first, and you’ll probably feel the urge to not try any activity because you simply don’t feel like it. It happened to me that I felt it took my mind away from my sadness, I felt so guilty of forgetting my pain for a few moments, that I avoided all activities that made me feel better or made me disconnect from this mental state that I was in.

Releasing Tension and Stress

Grief often causes physical tension and stress. Yoga poses, or asanas, help release this tension. Gentle stretches and restorative poses can ease muscle tightness and promote relaxation, providing much-needed relief.

Allow yourself to surrender to the physical sensations and emotions that arise. Trust in the healing power of yoga to guide you through your grief journey, one pose at a time. And I’m here to remind you that it’s okay to cry; most yoga poses target certain areas of our bodies that hold a lot of emotional tension, but you just have to try to let it go, go with the flow, and let yourself feel those emotions completely.

Finding Emotional Release

Certain yoga practices, such as heart-opening poses, can facilitate emotional release. These poses encourage you to open up physically and emotionally, allowing suppressed feelings to surface and be processed.

The beauty of yoga lies in its ability to create a safe space for this emotional exploration. On the mat, surrounded by supportive energy and guided by our breath, we can confront these emotions without judgment or fear. We learn to observe them, to sit with them, and ultimately to let them go. In doing so, we release the emotional weight we’ve been carrying and find a sense of lightness and freedom.

My Journey with Grief and Yoga

After I lost my beloved dog Quentin very suddenly and without notice, I was left with a void that felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore. In the weeks that followed, I found it very hard to get out of bed, let alone engage in any physical activity. My family, and my friends, all suggested I kept teaching yoga, and although I was skeptical at first, I decided to give it a shot right away and not stay away from it even though it was painful.

I found solace within my students and community; they were so supportive, even if I was not completely present in the classes or if I made mistakes, they understood the position I was in, and without having to express it with words, they were there with me with all of their hearts.

After five months without Quentin, I still feel sad and I still feel that nothing can fill up that space in my heart. But the people who love me and are around me make it easier every day. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone; you don’t have to be alone in moments when you feel lost, sad, or angry while experiencing grief. There’s no right or wrong way in a situation like this.

Sometimes I still feel, for a fraction of a second, that my dog will greet me when I open the door or that he will come running towards me after I finish a class as if he hasn’t seen me in ages. But yoga has helped me understand, accept, and let go, to not feel guilty, and to keep the beautiful memories my dog gave me. Grief can be about anything; it can also mean the loss of a connection with someone, and it’s okay to feel the loss because we can only overcome grief by feeling it.

One of my questions when I lost Quentin was, “Does grief ever go away, or do you learn to live with it?” I guess you learn to live with it because you’ll never forget your loved ones. You learn to accept that life goes on, and you don’t have to understand why, but you accept the fact that everything that happens in your life has to happen exactly as it is, and you will remember things with joy.

Recommended Yoga Poses for Grief

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Benefits: Calms the mind, relieves tension in the back and shoulders.

How to Do It: Kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and fold forward, stretching your arms out in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat and take deep, slow breaths.

Heart-Opening Poses

Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Opens the chest and heart, releasing emotional tension. Kneel on the floor, place your hands on your lower back, and gently arch your back, lifting your chest towards the ceiling.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lift your hips towards the ceiling, interlacing your fingers underneath you.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Benefits: Opens the hips and chest, promotes relaxation.

How to Do It: Lie on your back, bring the soles of your feet together, and let your knees fall open to the sides. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing up, and focus on your breath.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Benefits: Deep relaxation, grounding.

How to Do It: Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and arms by your sides. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, allowing your body to completely relax.

Incorporating Breathwork and Meditation

Breathwork (Pranayama)

Breathing exercises can be particularly beneficial for those dealing with grief. They help calm the nervous system and provide a sense of grounding.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana): This technique balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain, reducing stress and promoting calm. Sit comfortably, close your right nostril with your thumb, inhale through your left nostril, then close your left nostril with your ring finger, and exhale through your right nostril. Continue alternating for several minutes.


Meditation helps quiet the mind and allows you to sit with your emotions without judgment. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.

Guided Meditation: Listening to a guided meditation specifically designed for grief can provide structure and support. There are many resources available online and through meditation apps.

Building a Supportive Yoga Practice

Creating a Routine

Consistency is key when using yoga to help manage grief. Create a routine that fits into your life. Whether it’s a daily practice or a few times a week, find a schedule that works for you. We may not experience a profound shift after just one yoga session, but with consistent practice, we can gradually chip away at the layers of emotional armor we’ve built around ourselves. Over time, we learn to embrace our emotions fully, recognizing them as an integral part of our human experience.

Joining a Class

If you feel up to it, joining a yoga class can provide a sense of community and support. Many yoga studios offer classes specifically geared towards emotional healing and grief.

Practicing Self-Compassion

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever comes up during your yoga practice. It’s okay to have days when you don’t feel like practicing. Listen to your body and honor your needs.

Finding Community Through Yoga

One of the most comforting aspects of my yoga journey was the sense of community I found within my studio. After losing Quentin, I continued practicing and teaching. I shared my own loss, and everyone around me created a safe and supportive environment. Sharing my grief with others who understood made me feel less alone. We often ended the class with a group meditation, and those moments of collective silence were incredibly healing.

Last Thoughts

Grief is a journey that takes time and patience. Yoga can be a gentle and effective way to navigate this difficult path. By connecting mind and body, releasing physical and emotional tension, and providing a supportive community, yoga offers an easy approach to healing. Remember to be kind to yourself, and know that it’s okay to seek help and support when you need it.

Through my own experience, I’ve learned that yoga doesn’t erase the pain of loss, but it provides a way to move through it with grace and compassion. I hope that you, too, can find solace and strength through your practice. Roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and let’s embark on this journey of healing together.

If you are in Lisbon and want to find a supporting community through yoga, you can visit us and your first class is on us! See you on the mat.

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