My personal yoga practice for healing (it aint all fluffy bunnies!)
Twice in my life now I have experienced healing through yoga and meditation. The first time was in 2011 when I started to show symptoms of Hypothyroidism and the the second time is happening right now.
Without a guide book or a guru, somehow I just knew that I needed asana to get INTO MY BODY and then meditation to LISTEN for the answers to my prayers for healing.
Please note: I’m not talking about miraculous divine woo woo healing, I’m talking about healing through moving, feeling and releasing. And in my experience it has worked for both physical and emotional trauma.
My latest healing journey has to do with the operation I had late last year. Long story short, I fell pregnant but sadly the pregnancy was ectopic and had to be removed. I thought I had talked about it enough, cried enough tears, gotten angry enough, been sad enough…and had gotten over it. Turns out I was wrong.
Mid July was the expected due date had the pregnancy gone full term so I guess as it gets closer, I’m beginning to experience the real grief now.
And healing is weird and complicated. It’s layered. Along with the sadness and loss there is also anger and guilt. In order to get to the bottom of it all I have some work to do…
BUT….this post isn’t me asking for your sympathy or pity (and if anyone is genuinely interested in my personal process and experience I’m happy to share) I’m sharing it because TWICE in my life now yoga asana and meditation has helped me to NOTICE, FEEL, ACKNOWLEDGE, LET GO & HEAL.
Though only tested on myself, my self healing process seems to go like this:
1. Get myself onto my mat (which is a battle in itself some days!)
2. Choose a playlist to suit my mood OR silence (I find that sometimes music can help to get me into the feeling stage a little quicker.)
3. Start BREATHING & MOVING. Usually I start with Sun Salutations (or even just Child’s pose if I’m really heavy) and just go from there. No rules, sometimes I stop mid way and just lie down or stand with my eyes closed and then move again when ready.
4. Be still and LISTEN. My hand usually finds it’s way to my heart (and/or solar plexus) and I might ask myself “Tell me what’s wrong” or “What do you need?”…. And I will just keep repeating this until feelings start to wash over me, or I hear words, or see pictures in my minds eye. All answers to my question. Sometimes I write down my experience, sometimes I just stay in the moment until I’m all cried out or feel that something has shifted. There is no time limit to this part. It is finished when it is finished.
5. SELF CARE. Be gentle with yourself. Eat well, sleep more, create a space that you enjoy being in as you integrate the healing being done. Get massages, seek nature, watch waves roll in and out. Have plenty of alone time but socialise with the RIGHT people for short periods of time a little each week. Just a coffee or a tea and a hug!
6.Share your journey. Find people who can be TRUSTED with where you are right now. These people aren’t there to fix it or take it away, they are there to be 100% present and listen. Whether it is a professional or a friend, give it a voice and find the words to express your experience.
7. Walk around with your arms wide open and GET AS MANY HUGS as you can! Seriously, begin to hug for a little longer and when ever you feel the urge to release the hug, squeeze a little tighter. Don’t be afraid to ask for a hug either. When someone says “Is there anything I can do to help?” ask them to give you a hug.
Healing isn’t pretty, or easy or light. It’s often ugly and hard and dark. But it’s necessary to appreciate the beauty of life on the other side. Grief and trauma and hurt need to be expressed and transmuted in order to feel joy and good health and love!
A little while ago, at a Qoya session lead by a friend, we were all given shells. We were instructed to bring the shell to our ear and intuitively receive a word from the shell, and then pas the shell to the person to our left as a gift. The shell gifted to me came with the message ‘Live’. At the time I don’t think I realised the significance of the words, but after this mornings self healing yoga and meditation session I think i get it now…
Thankfully, I’ve been through my own self healing process before, it’s easier for me this time to jump in heart first, even though I know there is pain and loss to be acknowledged it’s ok because the other side is where life is. Life!
This gift that we are all given, to be here and experience all of it. The happy, the sad, the joy filled, the pain. Negative emotions aren’t mean’t to be buried, they are meant to be expressed so we can learn more about ourselves and feel the beauty of the other side. Where we can actually live.
Anyone can self heal, you just have to be ok with being with yourself, meeting yourself where ever you are and treating yourself like you would a family member or dear friend.
As I said above, I’m not implying it is easy and if it feels too big right now just begin with step one. Get on your mat. Listen to some music (or just your breath) in childs pose or another comfortable pose and just let that be enough and maybe when you’re feeling ready, slowly begin to move.
Maybe just childs pose > cat/cow > downward facing dog and just keep moving in a loop, breathing, feeling…noticing.
No judgement. No analysing. Don’t get into the story.
Exhale to release.
If it ever becomes too much, with compassion and kindness allow yourself to stop. Go at what ever pace you need right now. Every step is perfect and right. Know that you are strong enough, brave enough and worth it.
Om shanti shanti shanti
p.s…in no way is this to REPLACE or CHALLENGE any medical care that you may need at this time. My thyroid medication works along side my yoga practice beautifully.