Using Yoga to Cope With Sudden Job Loss

When I learned that the clinic where I provided psychotherapy to children, adolescents and their families in the South Bronx was closing for good, it felt like a punch in the gut. I’d never been unemployed before. I left jobs--jobs didn’t leave me! Million of people have suffered recent job loss but I had no idea how devastating it could be for me.

After I first heard the news I went home and laid on my bed for a long time, stunned. A small voice in my head said “go lay down there on your mat.” I moved off my bed to my yoga mat and did Savasana, corpse pose, with my bolster under my knees to support them. Finally I was able to cry. I rolled over into child’s pose and then, spent, pushed up into downward dog. The world was falling apart around me but I could hold myself up. The attention that normally flowed outward turned inward. I focused on ujjayi breathing, on ensuring my weight was evenly distributed over my hands and that my hamstrings were stretching out but not overly so.  Attending to downward dog took all my attention and I was grateful for it. I could not control my livelihood. But I could manage each moment-to-moment experience in my body at this time. 

It’s been two weeks since I learned my full time job was ending. I am continuing to breathe through it on the mat. I am using yoga to cope with something that is not going to be easily or quickly resolved. 

When I’m feeling depressed and/or anxious, I do the Rick Coe videos that address those issues. They help a lot. Some days when I feel so drained from saying goodbye to my patients that I can’t even imagine moving but know I need what it can give me, I alternate with child’s pose, downward dog and upward dog. Repeating this sequence even just a few times helps me release stress and grief. Then I finish with one of Bernie Clark’s meditations on emotions, thoughts or sensations.

As the new reality settles in and I approach my final days at the clinic, I am drawn to the power yoga educational videos. New material stimulates my brain and gets me excited about starting a fresh chapter in my life. I draw comfort and strength from Brand Spanking New and the challenge of the little stories my body learns and tells moving through vinyasa sequences.

A new period will stretch before me that will involve a lot of time at my computer networking, sending out cover letters and resumes. There is no doubt that my yoga practice and My Yoga Online will continue to be an essential part of my life. There is always a community comment, article, meditation or yoga video to challenge or comfort me or ground me. Yoga will by my companion for living in the moment as I plunge into the unknown.


Merryl Reichbach, LMSW, ACE, MA She is a Clinical Social Worker and art therapist with children, teens and their families.  She also has a private practice as a certified holistic health counselor (graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) ACE Certified Personal Trainer and loves integrating art, yoga, writing and dance into her life and her work.

Website: Jumping Woman Wellness

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Merryl, posted on December 9, 2012

@TheJourneyWithin Thanks for your kind words. I am on my way toward great work--attracting helpful people and wonderful new patients. It's a process and going much better than I'd imagined.

TheJourneyWithin, posted on December 4, 2012

What an insightful and helpful post. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom, Merryl! Very comforting. I sincerely hope you find a new position to which you can bring your passion and energy!

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