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Grief and Yoga: Interview with Dr. Lynn Somerstein

by Nina

I See, I Feel, I Hear, I am Aliveby Nina Tokhtaman ValetovaNina: Thanks so much, Lynn, for the interviews you did with me about Yoga and Anxiety, Yoga and Depression, and Yoga and Anger. Today I’d love to hear your thoughts about grief.Grief is such a involved sensation, I speculate. It seems to me that people can experience this emotion–or perhap this set of emotions–very differently from each other, and that agony may not always feel like sorrow. From your perspective, how do you understand grief? Lynn: Grief follows loss; the griever feels burst, like a tree killed during a hatchet. With duration, disciplines and leaves can ripen on the tree’s stump, heartache changes to sorrow, and the heart softens and bides open. Instead, grief is likely to be unchanged, the tree stump dies, and the heart becomes frozen, perhaps embittered; the heart abides closed for what feels like protection. Mourning calls for courage.Nina: Although beings tend to think of grief as a feeling we have after the deaths among a loved one, is this a feeling we can have over other loss? And do people tend to feel more grief during times of change? Lynn: Death of a loved one, a mother, a spouse, a friend, a child worst of all, imparts sorrow, of course. At other epoches the lost loved one is the self, lost through many little fatalities, such as bodily convert, cognitive mischief, or social disability. Accustomed ways of being or doing disappear.Right now, we are all suffering countless little extinctions. Covid-1 9 has raised a macrocosm of loss. We are mourning, but not yet able to metabolize our heartache into mourning. We live in between. Covid-1 9 has changed out world-wide; our past is disappeared, our present is ambiguous, our future is unknown. What happens next? Nina: I’ve heard from various experts, including a death doula and a hospice nurse, that heartbreak needs to run its course. They say it needs to be felt completely and given as much time as it needs. What do you think about that? Lynn: Grieving is an organic process that needs to run through their own bodies/ brain in its own way and its own time, and like a deep yoga practice it influences every cell.Nina: How can yoga patronage us while we are moving through remorse? Lynn: Yoga helps us stay in the moment while realised that times are temporary and so are we. We learn to be patient with pain and not rush away from it or from ourselves, to endure, to treasure rejoice, to know life and all things are fleeting.Nina: What are some of your favorite poses and rehearses for helping people who are experiencing bereavement? Lynn: A full yoga know-how of whatever mode wakes you up to your feelings and fastens “youre going to” your organization/ imagination is key. Child’s pose and Yoga Nidra, after your body has been reached and tightened, are ways to live with your sorrow, and then much later, cultivate contentment.Nina: My own experiences with grief experience a lot like stress, perhaps stress desegregated with affliction. If you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, feeling, or anger as an integrated part of your grief, does it make sense to use yoga techniques that might help with those sensations? Lynn: Yes, endeavour whatever yoga feels proper, from strenuous to restorative. Forceful campaigns can liberate fury. Breathing techniques shorten nervousnes and hollow. We feel stress desegregated with our regret because we are breaking open. Yoga Nidra and Savasana can help people feel protected so that they can grieve safely.Yoga helps us recognize and accept who we are, where we are. Most of us have had the experience of abruptly sobbing during pattern, or retaining, recognizing, understanding something that we weren’t even conscious of thinking about. Yoga helps us open and connect with our deepest emotions.Nina: Can parties get stuck in their regret? If so, how person tell? And can yoga assist with that? Lynn: Grief can become an endless cycle of shame and agony, recriminations of whys and wherefores, tedious and going anywhere. Sometimes people feel it is disloyal not to remain in grief. Not so.Nina: Are there any yoga practices and/ or poses that people who are grief should shun? Lynn: Proceed with your entire centre into the practice that called to speak to you. Do not shun your heartbreak, anguish will come and your mettle will open to find space for joyfulness sometimes, too.Nina: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers about this subject? Lynn: “Practice and all is coming…” This is a phrase often spoken by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.Lynn Anjali Somerstein, PhD, NCPsyA, LP, RYT, is a licensed psychotherapist and yoga therapist in private practice, specializing in anxiety, hollow and PTSD. She is also the author of countless sections about yoga, tension, feeling issues and psychotherapy. Lynn is grateful to her numerous coaches at the Integral Yoga Institute and the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis who offered her thorough and deep training in yoga, yoga therapy, and psychoanalysis. See for further information concerning Lynn.

This post primarily is available on the Accessible Yoga Blog.

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