Mindfulness and yoga for grief and PTSD

Mindfulness and yoga for grief and PTSD

These days, I’m dancing between self-preservation and expansion. I’m riding waves of grief and PTSD. So much is unknown, yet so much is known about how I’m feeling, because only my unique inner wisdom reveals my personal truth. It’s up to me to cultivate space for those answers to reveal. It’s the magic roadmap available for exactly what I’m feeling, how I’m feeling it, and when. The dizziness of life and this uncertainty shakes me.

The days go by and at times, it seems like I lose the connection to that inner compass. But then the quiet voice within leads me back home to myself.

Untethered and ungrounded, I greet whatever shows up. The uncertainty. The anxiety. The fear. I sit with it. I allow it. I do not judge it. I let it be, as it is—messy, ugly and uncomfortable. Mindfulness and yoga teach me how to face my fears and sit with discomfort. These practices have helped me balance as I walk the tight rope of fear and love, seeking truth in each moment.

Greeting myself where I am

I’ve lost everything and gained everything. I stand outside myself waiting to return. I’m here, now, with what is, as it is, knowing this is my path, this is my healing and this is not my pain. I greet myself where I am, in the mess that I am; this has been my saving grace. Making space for the great mystery and letting it be okay grounds me in uncertainty.

Building awareness is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened. I practice when I don’t want to. I practice when the waves crash me on the rocky shore. I practice when the waves of grief subside. I practice. I strengthen the muscle of awareness with each breath, so the moments when the wind gets knocked out of me, I know the fall won’t last forever.

Greeting what I feel with compassion and without judgment releases me from the shores of uncertainty and the relentless current of the past.

“I strengthen the muscle of awareness with each breath, so the moments when the wind gets knocked out of me, I know the fall won’t last forever.”Cyndi Roberts

Pain—both physical and emotional—is a messenger.

I ask… what can this pain teach me? How can I grow? What are the lessons and gems when the panic comes? In what ways are the past interfering with my now? And what is ready to heal on this path to freedom?

Mindfulness gives me clarity. Breathing with discomfort reminds me it will be okay. The discomfort is surfacing to heal. All I need to do is trust. All I need to do is be brave. Mindfulness, meditation and movement show me the way through. This is how I sit with myself and calm the fear. Only then can I be free.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”Winston Churchill
Yoga for grief and PTSD - side lying pose

Side Lying Pose

with a mindfulness 10-count breathing exercise

Practice often—even when you don’t want to—for 10-20 minutes each time.

Gather your props

  1. Use a folded blanket or pillow for under the head
  2. A bolster, stack of blankets or pillows for under the top knee, bottom leg straight
  3. A pillow or blanket, to rest top arm on, like you’re hugging a teddy bear
  4. An optional blanket to cover up with or place on the top hip (If pregnant, you may need another blanket under the belly to relieve any pulling sensations of the ligaments)

Instruction

  • Slowly lie down on your most comfortable side and set your props up
  • Slightly shift the bottom hip back and roll the top hip forward, so the hip joints are not stacked on top of each other
  • Make any adjustments you need, and once you’ve settled, take three deep breaths. Notice the shape of the body, the support of the props and where you feel the breath
  • Once you connect to the breath (you may need more than three breaths and that’s okay), silently count to ten. Once you reach the number ten, slowly count backwards to one. Continue to count back to ten and then back down to one, counting up and down
  • Feel free to match the breath to the count and find a rhythm that works best for you
  • Practice often, for 10-20 minutes, even when you don’t feel like it
  • Keep coming back to the breath count each time the awareness drifts. Be gentle with yourself and notice when thoughts, sensations and distractions come in. Then begin the count again, with compassion that you’re doing your best. Keep coming back each time the awareness drifts

  • One-on-one yoga

    I teach one-on-one therapeutic, gentle, restorative and prenatal yoga sessions out of my private studio conveniently located at 91 South Main Street in West Hartford. That’s just two blocks from Blue Back Square and the center of town.


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