Months back, my best friend, the man who I thought was “my person” broke up with me. The news hit me one night, over a home-cooked meal when I asked, “Are you happy?” Something I did quite often.
The answer I received wasn’t what I expected. Granted, I was aware things hadn’t been great, and I could feel our alignment was off, but I was holding on. Holding onto something that no longer existed. Something that’s easy to do when your lives are entangled and the chords connecting you both are deep, thick, and strong. Plus — again — he was my best friend.
Upon the breakup, I started anew. In a new home. A new place. And with a new sense of finality (that the relationship was really truly done) that stung. I continued with my normal practices (hiking, meditating, journaling, visualizing, setting intentions and mantra work), but it still wasn’t enough to clear my mind and heal my heart.
But then, I found yoga and quickly fell in love. Within weeks of practicing, my heart began to heal, open, forgive, appreciate and let go. In ways I’ve read that yoga does, but never truly believed in.
Here are seven ways yoga helped me through heartbreak and how it can heal you through any sort of heartache, too.
1. You are able to open your heart again.
The heart-opening poses really do just that — they open your heart to feel, love, forgive and move forward. I can’t tell you how many times I teared up after Camel Pose (Ustrasana). I allowed my sadness to bubble up to the surface and be processed, so I could finally move on. And eventually, the tears stopped and I found a sense of inner peace. The type of peace that only comes when you allow yourself to truly process and feel your emotions. The heart-openers show you that yes, you will open your heart again (and quite possibly, even bigger than before).
2. You use your breath to find calm.
Your breath is a powerful tool that influences your emotional vibration. You breathe short, quick breaths when in a state of panic; you take slow, long inhales and exhales when in a state of calm. Yoga taught me to use my breath (on or off the mat) to quiet my mind, still my fearful thoughts, and reconnect again with my loving self.
3. You understand you are your own best teacher.
During a breakup, you’ll receive a lot of opinions (regardless of whether you ask), of why he/she wasn’t right for you anyway, or what type of person you should be with next, and so forth. Regardless of what others say, that relationship allowed you to grow, expand and learn, and only you know the intimate details of your time together. Just as in yoga, you are your own best teacher in the valuable lessons you learned and how you can expand upon them, so you’ll be truly ready to enter your next relationship healed and whole.
4. You realize that you’re not alone.
When you’re used to having someone there, all of a sudden, the missing texts, calls, and dinners together can leave you feeling isolated, and even unloved. Getting on the mat and feeling the energy of others and connecting to that, reminds you that we’re all in this together, doing the same work — trying to do the best we can with where we are and what we know. It's a realization that you are not alone.
5. You enter into a moving meditation.
Yoga allows your mind, body and breath to connect on a soul-invigorating level. You don’t have space to rehash everything that happened or why it’s over. You’re forced to show up fully in the present. No worrying about the past or fretting about the future. You’re in the here and now and that peace transcends into your day, allowing you to do what you need to do most — to focus on the present.
6. You practice self-kindness and compassion.
Every time you step on your mat, you’re different than the day before. You may not have slept as well, maybe you had a funky day at work, or you’re just feeling down. Wherever you’re at, yoga teaches you the importance of honoring your feelings and treating yourself with kindness and compassion — something that can be hard to do after going through heartbreak — where feelings of not being good enough, attractive enough, or exciting enough can often fill your mind.
7. You connect with yourself
After being part of a duo, it’s simple to lose a part of yourself in the “we.” Through yoga, you learn one of the most valuable lessons ever — the importance of never losing the deep connection with yourself. When you allow yourself to quiet your mind and look inward, you’ll get clear on what it is you want, need and desire in your next chapter. And being clear and confident in who you are, what you want and where your boundaries lie, are some of the most desirable traits you can have to attract a future partner.
Sending you love, light and hugs your way, and remember you will get through this, and you'll be stronger than ever before.