Break ups are a bitch. Whether you’re the ‘dumper’ or the ‘dumpee’, there’s no sugar coating it.
They cut straight to the heart and have a weird way of bouncing back, showing up in the world as ‘denial’, ‘the victim’, ‘the villain,’ and other ego-based personalities.
Having done a pretty decent job in the past of protecting myself and making sure I was never vulnerable enough to be rejected, I recently gave up the struggle. I surrendered completely, said how I really felt and loved big.
And…I got dumped.
Although most of me wanted to kick any of my normal practices out the door in a rebellious protest against ‘good’, my yoga practice was right there with me through it all. Here’s what it taught me.
5 things I learnt about break ups, from yoga
Vulnerability can suck but it’s the only way to live
You know those postures in yoga that scare the shit out of you? For me it’s Forearm Balance. I’m scared of falling on my face and breaking my neck basically. It’s irrational and illusory but like love, you’ve got to take some risks to get to your prize.
You have to feel it first
You’ve got to feel your way through heartache if you expect to be more real and resilient. We are all numb, both on and off the mat, to some degree. I’m certainly really good at distracting myself from what’s really going on by running through my ‘to-do’ list mid-Downdog. But when I lean in and focus on sensation, acknowledge that it’s going to pass and then go a step further and practice ‘softening’ into it, something shifts. There’s not only more mental resilience, but physical freedom.
Then ride it out
I learnt that part of ‘feeling through it’ requires patience. But when your girlfriends remind you of that in the storm of a break up, you tend to ignore them. This is usually followed by a string of random dates, going out with the girls and planning as many time-fillers as possible. This time around, miraculously (and maybe because there was no one to go on a date with) I grew up a little and my emotions took the form of a rainbow rollercoaster of sorrow, deep solemn, irritation and anger. Good news? It’s now a vibrant sparkle of ‘whole-body-yes’. Time allows your cells to replump, replenish and restore. Compare a two-minute Savasana to a ten-minute one. Whilst the two minutes is effective, the ten minutes leaves you more sustainable, grounded and golden all day long.
As much as you’ve got to feel through it, you’ve also got to know when to do yourself a favour, jump off the sad train and lighten up. There are days when my balance on the mat just ain’t there. I have a choice in the moments when I fall. I can let ego take reign and get angry with myself. Or worse, laugh so hard to cover up embarrassment and disturb everyone around me. Or I can take a breath, smile at myself and move on. Let it pass. I highly recommend the latter. Living in the light does wonders for your soul and a smile is a sign that you’re cracking open.
There’s this quote I love by Rumi and it goes, “Live as if the world is rigged in your favour.” Each day as I was going through the motions of feeling rejected, I’d start with silence on my mat in child’s pose and remind myself that the universe has a grand plan for me. And he just wasn’t it. Trust that joy and deep love with someone else is coming but first know that you have it already (whether you’re with someone or not). It’s always there. But the deep love you yearn for with someone else may not always show up in the form you think you want it in. Trust me.