Grief Yoga is inspired by many different branches and forms of yoga, and it blends
them in various ways to help process grief and use it as fuel for transformative healing. This practice is not as much about physical flexibility as it is about emotional
liberation. It is a sacred space to express any struggle, and it is a form of surrender, a way to let go of pain and reconnect to love and the gift of life. We use movement, breath, and sound; moving meditations that open the heart; laughter exercises that tap into joy; and Dance Prayers that connect to the soul. You do not need
to know about these other types of yoga to do Grief Yoga, but here are descriptions
of several important ones (since people often ask).
[Read: “10 Ways to Practice Mindful Grieving.”]
Hatha Yoga focuses on physical postures to help students stretch, extend, and
relax. It helps create balance and grace as we straighten the spine and open the
heart. These postures help to improve flexibility and strength, relieving tight
shoulders and neck tension. The practice eases back pain and improves breathing disorders and heart conditions. It increases body awareness about the places
where stress gets stuck and helps to relieve muscle strain. Hatha Yoga sharpens the
mind, empowers the body, and frees the spirit.
Vinyasa Yoga is a sequence of postures that stretch and flow, using synchronized
breath. You move in a smooth way that flows together like a dance. Focus on the
breath is important as you move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale.
This meditation of movement and breath helps students find strength and grace.
[Try: “20-minute Vinyasa Flow.”]
Kundalini Yoga is an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices that help
build vitality and increase consciousness. This transformative practice uses
breathwork, meditations, chanting mantras, and kriyas to awaken and connect to our intuition. Kriyas are a specific set of exercises that generate energy to deliver
you to a greater sense of awareness as you awaken to your higher self. This powerful practice helps to strengthen your nervous system, balance your glandular system, purify the body, calm the mind, and connect to the fullness of who you are.
[Read: “11 Ways to Decalcify Your Pineal Gland for Wellbeing.”]
Let Your Yoga Dance
This sacred, tribal experience blends yoga, movement, and chakra fusion. You
use breath and movement in the seven energy centers of the spine to create liberation, empowerment, and joy. This magical yoga dance helps us surrender the
waves of sorrow as we shake off and move through sadness or anxiety. Dancing has
immense healing powers to inspire and energize us to embrace self-expression and
celebrate life and love.
Laughter can be a medicine to help deepen the breath and allow the flow of emotions to move through. The class follows a mind-body approach to laughter that
doesn’t focus on jokes or humor, but rather on exercises to strengthen the immune
system, bringing more oxygen into the body and brain to help us connect to a child-like playfulness. These laughter exercises mirror daily life and offer us incredible
health benefits. Through connection to the breath and exercises, these classes can
help shift suffering to create positive feelings.
[Read: “The Spirituality of Laughter.”]
Restorative Yoga, also known as Yin Yoga, is a series of nurturing postures that
allow a gentle approach to stretch and calm the body as you quiet the mind. This
practice can be deeply healing for those dealing with trauma, as it allows the body
to ease into a pose and remain there for a period of time. Bolsters, blankets, and
blocks help you to experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert effort.
It can help you find a place of safety and recovery.
Excerpted from the book Healing Through Yoga: Transform Loss into Empowerment (Chronicle Prism), by Paul Denniston. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.