Yoga and Grief – Could the benefits of yoga help with grief?
Many of us, over the past year, have taken up new hobbies. For a lot of people, yoga has come into their lives and made a massive difference. We already probably know the physical benefits yoga has to offer – but are you aware that lots of research has been done into the mental side of yoga? Therefore, if yoga can be used to improve our mental health – could it also help those of us who are grieving?
If you don’t know, yoga is a form of exercise that has Indian origins and has been developing over thousands of years. Practitioners of yoga claim the physical strengthening isn’t the only benefit – the mind is also at work when we do yoga. For this reason, research has been conducted as to whether yoga can help us reconnect with the present and, in turn, aid us through our grief journeys. So, what can yoga really do for us when coping with the loss of a loved one?
Getting physical helps with mental health
We know it can be hard to get moving, especially if you are experiencing a negative headspace. But, taking part in a form of physical exercise improves your mental health immensely and there is no other therapy quite like it. Lots of people are reluctant to give yoga a try, believing that you have to be naturally flexible or already have some level of fitness, but this is so far from the truth. Beginners’ yoga is the perfect thing to ease you back into exercise. In the current climate, finding a yoga class might be a bit tricky – but, it isn’t impossible. Many instructors are now turning to online classes, which might actually be the best way to ease into the practice, if you are a little nervous about it.
It is a brilliant stress buster
After a bereavement, stress and anxiety are heightened. With yoga, your mind is constantly being trained to focus on the present – which is a fantastic way to combat stress and ease anxiety. At first, you are going to struggle with this exercise; potentially both physically and mentally. However, you will begin to see the benefits rather quickly once you build yoga into your daily, or weekly, routine.
Never forget the importance of self-care
Looking after yourself while grieving is hard. Remembering to take even just a few minutes for yourself a day can also be a painful reminder to stop and think. However, allowing yourself to take this time and coming to enjoy it, will break up your day and make a massive difference to your mental health and wellbeing.
Trying something new for the first time is daunting, even more so if you are working through the complicated journey of grief. But there are so many health benefits when it comes to yoga (both physical and mental) which could begin to ease the journey for you. If you don’t feel as though you are ready to commit to yoga sessions – there are plenty of free resources online. One of our personal favourites is the Yoga for Grief video by Adriene Mishler. She welcomes you to the practice in an understanding, calming and reassuring manner.
Please always remember to seek help professionally if you find yourself really struggling with your loss. Don’t struggle in silence – there is always someone to listen. Head to the NHS mental health directory to find someone to help. If you, or someone else, need instant help – call 999.
By Rebecca Thomas