Trying to live life with sandy toes and laughter
I find that when I’m going through emotional ‘stuff’ my brain tries to protect me by moving quickly to something better. Avoiding the pain and creating reasons to validate rushing past it. This is a temporary fix. If you want to let something completely go, to where the pain is gone, you do have to let yourself feel it deeply until it can soften and disappear. I understand this but was not sure how to do it.
Enter a practice opportunity in the way of a recent breakup. I was holding the pain longer than I wanted, so I tried a mindful yoga practice to work through it and it worked! Here’s a quick breakdown of my process in case you want to give it a go:
For the physical side, I started with a basic Hatha practice every morning for one week. Very basic. What I call working out my morning creaks. Finding movement through the joints slowly until I’m at the top of my mat ready for my eight sun salutations. Ending with a standing (or seated) reflection/meditation.
For the breath, I stuck with deep flowing Ujjayi or Ocean breath. I was lucky to be on the coast for the week with waves crashing in front of me, so Ocean breath just made sense.
The mind. This is where the work happened:
Days one to three – with every inhale, I let myself feel every sad piece of pain I was holding down. When I would start to get that catch of pain in the chest or tingle of tears, I wouldn’t rush past it. I forced myself to go deeper into it. With every exhale I would root to the earth, reminding myself of my resilience and strength. Then, on the inhale again going deeper into the tough memories, fears, insecurities. Exhale and think of my strength, resilience, and power. Ending with a short reflection on how I felt emotionally from my heart space and what my mind wanted to do about it. This is where I used a talisman (a rock) at the top of my mat to soak up the energies of my practice, good and bad, so I wouldn’t carry any of the ‘stuff’ with me for the rest of my day.
Days four to six – remembering the good without pain. This would not have been possible without the first few days of feeling it all so deeply until it softens. For the breath, it was inhaling to root down and focusing on happy good things from my past relationship. On the exhale I opened my energy outward with gratitude for the past and optimism for my next chapter. Happy stuff.
Day seven – I took it outside. A short hike to the rocks along the ocean. To the beat of my steps, I recited the Mahamrityumjaya mantra (perfect mantra for transition or letting go). I said one last goodbye and tossed my talisman into the crashing waves. Om Shanti (peace) was my mantra for the walk back. I felt so light I think I floated.