Yoga for a Broken Heart
If you feel heartbroken or disconnected from yourself, how do you find your way back to wholeness? First, you must learn to become still. How do you do that? As Tracee Stanley explains, you make the decision now to take your seat, close your eyes, be with yourself, and breathe. Once the door of healing has been opened, the restorative light comes in naturally.
There are many ways that we become heartbroken. It can be from years of failed relationships, a betrayal from a partner, the loss of a loved one, divorce, abandonment, disappointment, even loneliness. Some of our heartbreaks are so deep that it feels as though we may never recover. We become so disconnected from ourselves that we need something to guide us back to wholeness.
All too often, we search for something or someone outside of ourselves to make us happy. But those of us who have tried that route have no-doubt experienced the fleeting happiness that is born from a relationship incubated in a bubble of neediness. It is our relationship to ourselves and the understanding of who we really are that will bring us that feeling of completeness and the knowledge that we are never truly alone.
The Yoga Sutras describe a light that resides inside each of us—a luminance that is beyond all sorrow. This light is said to be located at the heart center. If we can access that light by letting go of resistance, offering gratitude, and surrendering to what is, we can once again—and maybe for the first time—taste our true nature, one that is full of joy, freedom, and bliss.
The process of accessing that light requires svadyaya (self-study), abhyasa (diligent practice) and vairagya (dispassion). We have to muster the courage to walk through the fire of transformation, and we should begin by making a sacred commitment to ourselves toward our own healing.
But first, we must learn to become still. Stillness is probably the one thing we'd like to avoid. Busyness keeps us distracted from our issues and the pain at heart. Perpetual motion is a great tool to avoid seeing our patterns, ways we could have acted more wisely or compassionately. It staves off those voices of doubt in our minds that maybe we actually are unlovable or underserving and might always be alone. It seemingly keeps us from feeling the pain. But it's still there, under the surface, bubbling away, deciding whether to burst forth and release or sink deep and create toxicity and dis-ease. At the end of the day it only serves to keep our healing at bay.
We need to stop our endless television watching, web surfing, overworking, and the countless coffees with friends who just want to cheer us up or rehash the story over and over as they project their own relationship woes onto us.
Even our asana practice can become a way to distract ourselves. However, if we turn off the music and infuse our asana practice with the subtler aspects of yoga like pranayama, mantra, and bandhas, we can use it to prepare us for deep meditation. From this place, we can begin to pry open the door to the cave of the heart.
It is said that, in the stillness, the unknown becomes known. It may be scary to look into those painful and cavernous places within ourselves. But it must be done if we want to be free.
Make the decision now to take your seat, close your eyes, be with yourself, and breathe. Being still will illuminate your inner world, and how you experience the outer world will be shifted. But the practice of meditation is much more powerful when you practice daily. If possible, do it in the same place at the same time every day, and you will see that the cumulative power of a daily practice becomes palpable very quickly.
Here are some things that will help you to move your healing journey forward:
1. Practice non-expectation
2. Observe silence for at least 30 minutes before bed
3. Reduce your media intake
4. Take time to be alone