As wonderful as life is, it has its heartbreaking moments. A breakup, an unfortunate medical diagnosis, the loss of a loved one or a job are all things that can break your heart. To move past a broken heart, it’s important to heal your mind and your heart.
Yoga may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you need to heal a broken heart, but it does so by teaching us to stop trying to change the things that are out of our control. When we focus on fixing or changing things that we have no control over, the parts of our life that we do control fall by the wayside. The focus on fixing something or changing it delays healing.
To recover from a heart break, turn to your yoga practice and embrace its principles.
These are 12 ways that yoga helped me recover from a broken heart.
1. By Practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing
In most situations, you are entirely in control of your breath. When we go through a yoga practice, one of the things that we focus on is uniting the breath and the movement. If you’re successful, then your mind will be in the present moment.
Practicing alternate nostril breathing shows you that everything you need to be okay is already a part of you. Focused breathing slows down a busy mind, one that might be unsettled following a broken heart.
Alternate nostril breathing can decrease your heart rate. It even lowers stress and reduces anxiety in the body and the mind. This is a yoga tool that can help you get through hard times.
2. By Refocusing My Mind
Yoga practically forces you to refocus your mind. How does it do this? It does it by requiring you to move your body in challenging ways. To stay upright and avoid falling, you must focus on your body instead of your thoughts.
During a practice, you connect to your body. As your mind focuses intently on the poses, you relax, in a way. For instance, instead of thinking about the could haves, would haves and the should haves, you’ll be thinking about leveling your hips in warrior three. Yoga helps you focus on:
• Your movement
• Your breathing
• The moment
3. By Teaching Me How to Do Warrior Poses
Yoga has four warrior poses: warrior one, warrior two, warrior three and reverse warrior. Each one can make you feel powerful and in control of your broken heart. While in a warrior pose, consider repeating a mantra, something like “I am a warrior. I will get through this. I am enough.”
When you repeat a mantra or a positive affirmation, you’ll be working to reprogram your mind as you recover from broken heart emotions. Stand strong in your warrior poses and speak positively to yourself. These steps can heal you by emphasizing important and positive things about you that you may have forgotten.
4. By Inspiring me to Try Meditation
A broken heart can be mended with meditation. According to Tantric philosophy, people contain a great deal of prana shakti, which means soul power, when they experience pain. If we stay close to the experience, we can release the energy and obtain a deeper insight into the essential nature of reality in addition to the underlying beauty constantly at work, even during our heartbreak.
The meditation can be done sitting or lying down, but be sure to bring your feet together for connection. You may find that your heart heals more readily when the Earth is supporting it. As you lay upon the ground, the Earth is holding and softening your heart.
A heart healing meditation requires you to visualize the space above your heart and imagine a light drawing into the area. To recover from broken heart sadness, try meditating for at least 30 days, and be sure to dedicate 15 to 45 minutes to the meditation practice.
5. By Challenging Me to Do Handstands
The asana part of a yoga practice may involve a number of different poses including handstands and other inversions. Inverting the body not only has the possibility of flipping your physical perspective, but the action can also flip how you feel about your broken heart.
At first, handstands are scary. As you send your feet to the sky, your heart may start to race while your brain works to orient itself. The more that you practice it, the more you’ll realize that you’re growing stronger through the experience of your heartbreak. Allow yourself to heal.
6. By Giving Me a Safe Sanctuary
Once you have established a regular practice, your yoga mat will become a safe sanctuary, a place where you can heal. On your mat, you can let your emotions in without feeling judged. The mat is even a place where you can reveal the rawest part of yourself and still feel safe, supported and held.
For people who practice yoga, the mat is their security. It is always there to catch you. While practicing on your mat, you can just be. You can just be sad, or happy or in a state of healing.
7. By Offering Grounding Poses
In yoga, we practice grounding poses that include bringing our hearts closer to the Earth. Tortoise pose and pigeon are just two of these. In Yoga International, an article about healing a broken heart says, “The chakra associated with the heart center is the anahata chakra. Anahata translates roughly as “unstruck sound.” The rishis, or seers, of the yoga tradition glimpsed that within the heart center resides the innermost self—a self that is completely whole and can never be broken.”
As we let our hearts sink toward the Earth in tortoise and pigeon, we’re deepening our connection to our own inner sage. When a tortoise draws into the safety of its shell, it is feeling threatened or startled. Mimicking this action helps us feel safe.
8. By Including Savasana
When people start practicing yoga, they often struggle the most with savasana. The reason for this varies, but for many of us, laying silent with ourselves is especially challenging. Many yoga instructors point out that is one of the most important poses.
How can savasana help you recover from a broken heart? It works because when you relax into savasana, you’re in a place where you can surrender to your heartache and let your inner healing power begin to restore your peace. A heartbreak is a wrenching thing to experience, and often, our brains try to fix it by fighting our way through it.
In yoga, we heal by surrendering. When you’re in savasana, you’ll practice the surrender, and this will help you to let go of your pain to find peace.
9. By Facilitating a Balanced Emotional State
A consistent yoga practice increases your breath and body awareness. As you gain this awareness, you’ll start to shed emotional weight. While practicing, you will start to notice unconscious patterns that are present due to your heart break.
During your yoga practice, you’ll be moving your body in ways that support a balanced emotional state, which can also open up your heart, helping it to heal. Setting an intention for your yoga practice is another way to recover from a broken heart.
To set a healing heart intention, ask yourself, “What does my heart need to heal?” Then, take a moment and listen. It might need:
10. By Instructing Me on How to Open My Heart
A yoga asana practice will often include heart opening poses such as camel. While in heart opening poses, you’ll be focusing on your breath and deepening into the body movements. Some heart opening poses are empowering, and they’ll help you regain your confidence.
Other heart focused poses release powerful emotions like:
Along with being powerful, these emotions are negative. Doing poses like pigeon can help release them.
11. By Helping Me Reach a State of Forgiveness
Yoga has a way of reaching inside the soul and helping you come to realizations. It helped me forgive. The thing about forgiveness is that it’s for you and not the person who hurt you.