8 Ways Yoga Supported Me Through Divorce

Three years ago, I suffered a tsunami divorce, an unexpected trauma that left me dazed and confused on the shattered shore of my life. Yoga was and continues to be a key component of my healing process, as it has taught me many lessons that I have been able to use in my self-restoration project.
 
1) Flexibility: Before my husband abruptly left, I had my life planned out. I knew what I wanted, and I thought I knew how to get there. Yoga helped to realize that I could stretch myself beyond any perceived limitations. I learned to loosen my expectations and approach each challenge with curiosity and an open mind.
 
2) Breath: For months after the trauma, my chest was bound in a straightjacket of sorrow. My brain refused to let my body breathe. On the mat, I was able to re-train the breath as I learned to soften and allow it to flow. Slowly, my bound breast was released and the air flowed smoothly and deeply again.
 
3) Push Further: I used to say that I could not live without my husband. Once he left, I had no choice. I used to approach yoga with that same certainty, stating, “I can’t do that,” in reference to some advanced move. I began to comprehend that I could do much more than I ever thought possible, on and off the mat.
 
4) Balance: In my former life, I was unbalanced. I spent too much time on work and not enough on play. Yoga taught me the value of balance. When I was off-kilter in mind or body, I struggled. Whereas, if I could find stability in a pose, I could hold it with ease. I now seek to maintain that balance in my life and enjoy the peace that it brings.
 
5) Acceptance: Change is hard. Unexpected and unwanted change is even harder. When I uncovered the horrific nature of my husband’s deceptions, I railed against my new reality. Through yoga, I learned to accept the present and its limitations. I became skilled in breathing into discomfort rather than trying to fight against it. My practice allowed me to find acceptance in the past.
 
6) Take Your Time: I had a difficult time being patient with the healing process; I wanted to be “over it” now. With yoga, I learned to be patient and to move at a pace that worked with my body and my breath. Vinyasas and grief should not be rushed.
 
7) Rest: Divorce is exhausting, yet I felt like I couldn’t take the time to rest. I was afraid that I would miss something if I pushed the “pause” button. In my yoga classes, there were times I had to take child’s pose to rest. I realized that the practice was still there when I lifted my head back up, and I felt recharged and ready to continue. Yoga became my pause in my life, my hour to rest from the demands of the rest of the world.
 
8) Trust: When I discovered that my beloved husband betrayed me in every way possible, my ability to trust was taken from me like candy from a baby. Yoga taught me to trust again: first myself, as I found my stability in balancing poses and then others, as I allowed a teacher to manipulate my form.
 
Yoga is a form of therapy that can help us through the difficult times. Let the healing begin on the mat, and carry it with you beyond the studio.   

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About the Author
Lisa Arends works as a math teacher and a wellness coach. After using her own sudden divorce three years ago as a catalyst for positive change, she now helps people navigate their own divorces. She loves to lift heavy weights and run long distances, and she is still learning how to meditate.Lisa chronicles her journey through divorce and into wellness in her book Lessons From the End of a Marriage.
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