Looking back on my very first breakup, like one would expect, was utterly devastating. The post makeups followed by more heart wrenching breakups took a toll on my physical and emotional health. So severe that I broke out into hives, cried constantly and dove into a deep state of depression for months to come. If only I knew yoga back then, I would’ve done things differently. Like stop suppressing my emotions with episodes of binge drinking, excessive exercising, not eating regularly or replaying Someone Like You by Adele on my ipod until my ears burned. Alas, life lessons are always more precious when you finally get yourself out of the bottom and look back triumphantly feeling stronger than ever before. So having been through the trenches, I know how much a broken heart hurts; it’s a pain that pierce through the pericardium without an actual cut. Although yoga might not be your priority while surviving a breakup, trust that the following yoga poses will make you feel better or at least get you out of bed:
#1. Sphinx Pose
Method: Lay on your belly and make sure your elbows are underneath your shoulders or slightly in front. Engage the legs and press the tops of your feet to the floor. Hold for 3-5 minutes.
Key: Draw the elbows towards your belly and push your chest up and forward. By contracting the upper back, your chest will have a chance to soften and open up.
Perks: You can do this while watching Netflix. Although I recommend watching something other than The Notebook.
#2. Reclined Lunge Pose
Method: Kneel on one knee, make sure both legs are kept 90° and slowly lean back. Keep both hands on your low back if you can’t reach the heel or use the wall for stability. You can put a towel under the knee for comfort. Hold for 5-10 breaths each side.
Key: Push into the hand that’s supporting the low back and lift the chest high. Push the pelvis forward and feel the stretch in the psoas, hip flexors, chest and armpits.
Perks: This pose is not only empowering, it also helps you gain all the confidence back! Visualize on things that empower you like a book, inspirational speaker and/or a supportive friend. I like to think of the messages from the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.
#3. Camel Pose
Method: On your knees, inhale lengthen the spine and exhale lean back and reach for your heels. You can reach one heel at a time if it’s more accessible. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Key: Really engage the legs and push the pelvis forward. Keep the neck relaxed.
Perks: You can’t really think of much other than breathing and holding the pose. Enjoy the brief moment of a blank mind and see how life can go on without your Ex flashing in your head every few seconds. It’s liberating!
#4. Pigeon Pose
Method: Laying on your front, slide the right foot towards the left hip flexor. The further the right foot is away from the hip flexor, the more intense the pose is. You can untuck the back toes if it’s more comfortable. Hold for 2-3 minutes each side.
Key: Engage the front foot by pressing into the big toe mount (metatarsal). This is to protect the knee joint. You can also put a pillow or yoga block under the buttock for support. It’s important to ease into this posture.
Perks: Sadness, fear and anger are often stored in the hips. Also not to forget the countless days/nights you curl up in bed tightening up the hip flexors. This pose is essential in relieving the negative emotions, albeit excruciating. So gather the courage and just do it. You’ll feel supreme afterwards!
#5. Child’s Pose
Method: Rest your forehead on a soft floor. Part your thighs slightly to let the belly soften in between. Hold for 3-5 minutes.
Key: Keep your eyes close and focus on the space behind the forehead. On each inhale, imagine the breath, in a form of white light, rising from the base of the spine to the third eye and on the exhale visualize the light descending back to the base of the spine.
Perks: This is to consolidate all the healing poses prior, but know that there could be a lot of emotions surfacing up here. Instead of letting the emotions get to you, try to witness them in a calm manner. It’s okay to feel the hurt but know that emotions are transient and your heart will heal in time.
Here you go, these yoga poses can have significant positive effect on your body and mind. It’s part of our growing process to experience heartbreaks. Allow yourself to be hurt only to recognize your need to be tenderly loved. But it’s equally important to find the strength within to rise and thrive! Try these poses out and keep nourishing yourself with love on this healing journey.
All images are copyrighted to Annie Au Yoga.