A life well lived
My Nan at 90
As many of you know, I recently lost my Nan. She was 93, had lived a good life and this was the first time she’d been in hospital, so there was much to celebrate, but it did still hurt. Thank you to everyone who sent me good wishes.
I’ve spoken many times about how Dru Yoga is always there for me, and this experience was no different. I always like to share what I learn, so here are some ways that my yoga practice have helped me deal with grief and the busy-ness that inevitably seems to come with death, for those closest, at a time when you could really do without it.
For me, the biggest challenge is managing my emotional outbursts. I can be very adept at holding it all in, I’m pretty good in a crisis and do what needs to be done, right up to the point that someone says something kind to me or hugs me! At which point, I dissolve into tears, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Knowing I do this, I have a tendency to be quite prickly, metaphorically holding people at arms length, but I also know from experience that this isn’t helpful. I now use my yoga to help me process my emotions in a more balanced way, I’m still work in progress but I’m certainly better it than I used to be!
When I need to keep it together, I focus all my attention on 2 things – the present moment and the base of my spine. By keeping my mind on the job in hand, ie what is going on right now in the present moment, I can stop myself wandering into the ego controlled, memory laden past and anxiety about the future, neither of which have any reality in the present moment. Balance postures are particularly useful at keeping us in the present. Dancer pose (natarajasana) is my personal favourite for staying centred. Meditation will also teach you this.
If I find myself drifting, I try to bring my focus to the base of my spine, the seat of our root chakra. This helps me to feel stable, in control. Use the Warrior poses, Dru’s beautiful Earth sequence, and Dog posture to help you stay grounded. Sitting and focussing on the base of your spine, feeling as though you are putting roots down into the earth is a lovely way to bring calm and balance to mind and body.
To help me process the grief and sadness, I have been practising our “Awakening the Heart” energy block release sequence, along with chair of the heart, cow face and camel (and trust me, I don’t do this posture for fun!). At times when I feel too emotional, I use the sitting forward bend to calm things down, with bridge to counter, plus it’s a great heart opener, followed by lying twists to soothe my jangled nerves and finish by resting for at least 5 minutes in crocodile. Crocodile is the best thing for bringing calm and balance to an over wrought mind and body.
Plenty of relaxations and a daily meditation practice have been essential for my physical and my emotional wellbeing. I was called out to the hospital for a couple of nights on the trot, and being able to go through a relaxation routine was a life saver, giving me the energy I needed to be able to work the following day, whilst during meditation I was able to find peace and solace. I added to these still moments plenty of pranayama. Deep yogic breath, altenate nostril breathing and humming bee breath being especially welcome.
As always, I hope that my experiences will be of use to someone. The main thing I learned from my Nan is that life is for living, for enjoying. I know that she would not want me to be wallowing in sadness, my yoga practice is helping me move forwards with love and gratitude for a life well lived. Ix