Yoga for a Broken Heart
I have spent the past two years using yoga alongside therapy to heal my emotional wounds. Suffering from pelvic pain, my asana practice revealed to me that my physical pain was a manifestation of my emotional pain. Once I released that, my pain subsided and I was able to cancel an impending surgery. I have seen numerous times in my practice and in my teaching that pain in the heart and the body can be helped or healed through yoga. Through my healing journey, my teaching has evolved to a more heart-centered approach; one that focuses on the connection between the mind, body, and heart and the belief that they are constantly striving toward wholeness.
Here are a few of the techniques that I’ve used in my own life and teaching.
- Use affirmations with Sun Salutations
Bathe your body in the truth of who you are. Each inhale say “I am”, each exhale say the affirmation (silently or aloud). Do one Sun Salutation per affirmation below.
- Imagine red light at the base of the pelvis and say the words I AM SAFE
- Orange at low abdomen, I AM CONFIDENT
- Yellow at upper abdomen, I AM POWERFUL
- Bright green at heart center, I AM LOVING
- Pale blue at base of throat, I AM TRUTHFUL
- Deep blue between eyebrows, I AM WISE
- Violet above the head, I AM WHOLE
- White in the space slightly higher above the head, I AM FREE
- Soak in the effects of washing your body and mind in truth
- Talk to Your Pain
When you feel physical pain, silently ask the pain what it is trying to tell you. Give it a chance to speak – tell it you’re listening. Sometimes it helps to practice asana, journal, draw, or go for a walk during this process.
- Ground the feet down and open the heart up
Use standing and balance poses to help you feel grounded and present. Practice chest openers to help you keep your heart open. Interlace your fingers at your back, hug your shoulder blades and elbows together, reach the knuckles toward the floor, and lift the sternum and side ribs up. Do this as often as possible to help you keep your heart open to life and joy.
- Keep your heart soft
Pain can cause you to close up. To help you stay open, place your right middle finger on your heart center and gently and slowly massage. In that spot, imagine a beautiful ray of light breaking through the clouds. Choose a quality of love that resonates for you, and imagine that quality shining brightly. Any time you need to remember this place of love and peace deep within you, put the right middle finger there gently.
Brokenness and pain are part of being alive. Owning that pain and dropping into it is how we begin to heal.
What to Do When You’re Not on Your Mat
Gaia’s The Yogi’s Heart series can help you open and heal your heart.
Archetypal Moon Energy; a Lunar Love Ritual
The moon cycles possess archetypal energies that offer women deeper insight into her own natural rhythms and how her divine flow guides her to have greater control over her mental and emotional well-being as well as harness the full potential of her creativity, strength, and nourishment. A woman who becomes consciously aware of her connection to the moon’s influence through her womb can begin to intentionally craft her life’s events in a way that will bring her the results she truly desires. Practice this Lunar Love Ritual to align with these archetypal energies and receive the full power of their guidance.
The 4 Archetypes of the Moon
It’s quite common for women to menstruate and ovulate in sync with the moon cycle. Since there is no evidence of women possessing greater or lesser health whether their menstrual cycles sync with the moon or not, please do not get too attached to these or allow them to mean something about your identity or worth as an individual. These are simply here to act as a framework to help guide you into an exploration of yourself.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is around the same length as the 28-day moon cycle, give or take a few days. There are two types of women depending on when they ovulate and menstruate – a white moon woman and a red moon woman. A white moon woman, which is the more common of the two types, will menstruate around the darkness of the new moon and ovulate with the full light of the full moon. A red moon woman will menstruate with the full light of the full moon and ovulate with the darkness of the new moon.
Depending on how our cycle aligns with the four moon phases – new moon, waxing moon, full moon, and waning moon – there are four archetypal energies that we can use as a guide to feel more in tune with our natural rhythms and those of the moon. Although the new moon is the start of a new cycle, for the purpose and ease of learning here, we will start with the virgin phase which corresponds to the waxing moon.