Silhouette of Young Woman Doing Yoga

Grief Lessons from Yoga Class

Grief Coach Linda Trignano

By Linda Trignano

Silhouette of Young Woman Doing Yoga
Normally I don’t take a yoga class at the gym.  I often find the session a challenge for my body which resists bending and stretching in the way my fellow classmates seem to easily be able to manage.  But for some reason that I can’t fully explain, I had a desire to take this class that referred to the 1-hour yoga class as “restorative.”  That sounded gentle enough for me to endure.  It was, and I was glad that I had made the decision.  But it is the pearls of wisdom that the yoga teacher shared with us, the challenges she gently presented us with, the invitation to think deeper that I wanted to share with you today.  I think that when considered through the eyes of grief, the thoughts offer comfort and encouragement for your grief journey. 

Pearl of Wisdom #1 – After getting into a challenging yoga pose, my body began the parade of physical signs reflective of my internal thoughts. “Let’s get this pose over with!” was uppermost in my mind.  The grimace, the loss of balance at one point, the verbal “ouch”, offered up by me and some of my fellow students led the teacher to the observation that many of us just wanted to end the pose. In a gentle, soothing voice she said: “remember, everything has a beginning, middle, and end”. She encouraged us to think about that during the pose, to focus on the benefit of each phase, to take what we could from the challenge of holding the pose.

And so it is with grief and loss. It too has a beginning, middle, and end. With grief it seems that the beginning arrives in our lives uninvited, stays way too long (the middle) and the end seems nowhere in sight. But holding to the thought that grief will pass through the beginning, to the middle and finally to the end offers comfort. My experience tells me that the “end” is often different for each of us.

“So many things in life are about loss:  death, losing a job, saying goodbye to a dear friend moving away, retiring. The list is endless. Life is often about saying goodbye. Letting go is difficult.”

Pearl of Wisdom #2 – During the yoga class, I glanced at the clock quite a few times. Thoughts of “how much longer??!!”, “how long have we been working our thighs??”, “what time will I get back home?” filled my head. I’m sure many of my classmates suffered the same thoughts.  It seems that many of my fellow students also couldn’t resist the urge to see what time it was – often during the hour. Our ever observant yoga leader took notice and offered the words “Time is an illusion. Now is all we have. Enjoy the now.”  The words helped me stop the parade of thoughts and focus on the present. And so it is with grief and loss. 

All too often we seem to be unable to stop thinking about what was, or what we want to be rather than the now. I know that the difficult challenge when one suffers a loss is letting go. Moving forward takes time in the grief process. But a gentle reminder to ourselves to enjoy something about the now will help us, soothe us, and possibly give us the needed strength to move forward even if moving forward is one small step. So many things in life are about loss: death, losing a job, saying goodbye to a dear friend moving away, retiring. The list is endless since life is often about saying goodbye and letting go is difficult.  

The yoga lesson offered me so much more than the physical exercise.  Accepting the wisdom of “everything has a beginning, middle, and end” and “enjoy the now” touched me because I was open to the message. I hope you too are open to that message

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