If you let it, yoga will heal you. That's the thing about heartbreak is that it's simultaneously beautiful and devastating. Much like yoga, it invites you to go inside, to question what you once thought you knew, and to get to know your true self.
We all are made up energy. That energy comes in two forms: lunar and solar. Lunar energy is feminine and passive energy, while solar energy is masculine and active; lunar is the energy of being, while solar is the energy of doing. Whether male or female, each of us has both energies within us.
The ancient yogis warned against playing lightly with lunar energy. Unchecked lunar energy can be dangerous, creating depression and other mental disorders. Moving through heartbreak requires using both energies. But if you try to skip right to the solar phase, increasing your solar energy with active yoga practices and a "doing" energy, you rob yourself of the ability to truly heal from the inside out.
First, focus on leaning into lunar. You can do this through yoga asana, spending time in the moonlight, or using different herbs in teas, baths, or candles including jatamansi, brahmi, hibiscus, and lavender. Allowing yourself to just be by embracing the lunar allows you to spend this painful time in self-reflection, self-care, and self-love.
I invite you to create a healing environment and flow through the practice below, focusing on self-love and compassion. For me, that means a soothing yoga playlist and candles. Set an intention to allow yourself to feel whatever comes up.
1. Cobra flow
After taking a few moments on your mat to center yourself and set your intention, flow from child's pose into cobra pose. Continue to flow, following your breath. Child's pose grounds you and makes you feel safe, and cobra pose gently awakens the heart center and chest.
2. Moon salutations
Sun salutations are a well-known practice. But on the flip side, we can also do moon salutations, or chandra namaskara. This is a beautiful practice that will allow you to connect to your femininity, emotions, and intuition.
This sequence is almost exactly the same as sun salutations. Simply take a crescent lunge or half-moon pose (ardha chandrasana) for each lunge. Repeat this sequence as many times as you would like, moving mindfully and aligning each movement with one breath.
Human beings typically store emotions in the hips, specifically in the psoas muscle. A tight psoas muscle can cause anxiety and stress, and a deeply relaxed psoas muscle can cause a relaxed mind. This makes hip openers particularly powerful, and often painful, poses. As the psoas connects the upper legs to the lower back, sphinx pose creates a gentle, passive stretching of the psoas. This is the perfect introduction to more intense hip openers.
4. Pigeon pose
Allow yourself to feel any emotions that arise here. I have often cried on my mat in pigeon pose, so there's no shame. Stay
here as long as you need to, breathing and returning to your intention to feel whatever comes up.
5. Happy baby
Happy baby, or ananda balasana, is a classic hip opener that's less intense than pigeon pose. Keep your tailbone tucked to the floor and try to breathe into the hips. This pose can offer deep relaxation and stress relief.
6. Camel pose
Transition out of hip openers into camel pose, taking whatever modification is necessary to feel comfortable here. Keep your palms on your lower back for a gentle version, or reach back for your heels or a block for a more intense stretch. Open your chest and your heart as you come to the end of your sequence.
7. Reclining cobbler's pose
Take reclining cobbler's pose, or supta baddha konasana, as your savasana. Give yourself some extra love by placing a block or a pillow under each open knee. Reflect on what emotions came up in your practice, and thank yourself for being brave enough to feel them.
As you flow through this practice, remember that you can and will take this ease and peace off the mat and into your life. We must move through our pain in order to move past it.
If your heart is broken, you're not alone. The universe has your back. Your yoga practice is here for you. And around the world there are millions of people, including me, going through the same thing that you are. With the help of a little yoga, we're all going to emerge from this—and we will emerge from this better, stronger, happier, and hopefully with a bit more compassion and love for ourselves. So light some incense and hop on your mat with me.