Loss and grief is an inescapable human experience, intricate, complex, and often so much beyond one's emotional capacity to handle, that it shatters one's previous self to arise in its place a new self like a phoenix rising out of its ashes. The process is no piece of cake.
Grief yoga helps the body release intense emotions in a gentle and self-compassionate way via asana, while cultivating the ability to bring mindfulness and presence to the difficult process of grief. Emotions are a physiological response of the body. Just as exhilarating feelings of falling in love activates the brain's pleasure centers with dopamine and oxytocin, grief triggers the nervous system into a constant state of fight-or-flight. Unprocessed grief can be stored in the body and manifest in physical ways - a common one is slouching to literally "protect the heart." Yoga, as a versatile discipline of the mind-body, is a gentle and nurturing practice for self care through challenges of grief. Grief yoga is about treating oneself with the utmost self love, opening to acceptance and resilience, and when one's ready, recommitting to life and transforming grief to a source of strength.
A typical grief yoga class may include sitting and movement meditation, journaling, pranayama, and asana varying from slow to medium speed vinyasa to gentle restorative. Each class addresses themes specifically experienced during grief and focuses on physical centers of the body associated with trauma and emotions.