When we sustain a physical injury such as a broken leg, black eye or a sunburn, the injury is visible for the world to see and comment on. “What happened!?” invites story-telling and sharing the circumstances of the accident. Sharing contributes to healing. In contrast, surviving emotional trauma does not always prompt the healing power of sharing. We tend to shy away from talking about our aches of the heart.
Recovering from physical trauma takes time, of course, but is visible. Talking about the injury and noticing physical improvements contribute to healing. Matters of the heart, on the other hand, are less visible and more complex. Although heartache often manifests itself as a furrowed brow, swollen eyes and a sad face, sparking a conversation about emotional pain is a little more sensitive than discussing a physical injury.
So, while the presence of a physical injury invites questions and conversation, the seclusion of an emotional injury has the opposite effect. Isolation and loneliness prevail.
Meanwhile, the owner of the broken heart
seeks an outlet for the pain.
Healing from a physical injury has socially-acceptable antidotes: over the counter painkillers, topical creams, physical therapy. Matters of the heart are shrouded in secrecy, punctuated by solitude and emotional discomfort. Thus, the victim of the emotional trauma is prone to making bad decisions, escaping through drugs, alcohol, sex, and regrettable lifestyle decisions.
So, how to deal with emotional trauma in a healthy way?
The posture of grief is characterized by hunched shouldersslumped spine,and head in hands. Heart opening yoga poses are the antidote to a grieving posture and will create space to let the emotion out, to free the heart from sadness and begin to heal.
Yoga is the union of mind, body and spirit.
Practicing heart opening poses is a gateway to releasing unwanted emotional energy.
Make no mistake, heart openers will trigger a painful release of emotions, often tears, but will ultimately foster tremendous release and freedom from negative energy. Fortunately, the yoga studio and the yoga mat is a safe place to let go of great emotional trauma. The yoga mat is a place of solace and comfort and is free from judgment. You are always safe on your yoga mat and just like you aren’t passing judgment on the yogi on the mat next to you, you can be certain that (s)he isn’t judging you either. All that being said, if getting yourself to a studio is simply too much for your broken heart, unroll your yoga mat or towel in the privacy of your own home and practice these heart openers there.
After a deep heart-opening practice, rest in a long savasana followed by several minutes of sitting still, crosslegged. Take your time and step off your mat and back into the world when you’re ready.