2004 was the year that turned my life upside down. I went from being a fun-loving and adventurous university student, to being the primary caregiver to a boyfriend with terminal cancer while, simultaneously, dealing with the disappearance of my mother who was traveling in Costa Rica.
It didn’t end well.
A month after my boyfriend lost his battle with cancer, It was time to take care of my mom. I traveled to Costa Rica (twice) in an attempt to save her life. When I found her, she was so severely addicted to alcohol and crack-cocaine that she was a shell of the super ‘soccer mom’ I knew and loved. Several months later, she took her own life.
My already broken heart, was shattered into pieces.
One day, on a routine visit to my doctor, I found out that my figurative broken heart had manifested into an actual broken heart. I developed an arrhythmia that my cardiologist said could only be healed with beta-blockers and eventual surgery, which I refused because I knew deep down that these symptoms were caused by overwhelming grief. I decided it was time to heal. I began a regular specialized yoga practice that focused on softening and opening my heart-space. At first, it was excruciating – emotionally, I mean. I would organize myself in a heart opening pose and only be able to stay for several seconds before I needed out. But, I was gentle on myself. I was kind. I told myself to breathe and gave myself permission to release and move into Child’s Pose when it felt like too much.
Slowly, with practice and time, it got easier. I was able to hold the poses for longer and felt more comfortable while in them. As the anxiety began to calm down, my heart began to feel better and began to beat more regularly. I’m so excited to say that, that on my last visit to my cardiologist he said, and I quote, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. You don’t have to come back to me unless you feel something irregular!” It’s been four years and thanks to yoga and my favorite heart opening poses, I haven’t been back since.
If you want to heal your own broken heart, I invite you to try these powerful heart opening poses: Camel Pose and Heart Bed. On days when you are feeling stronger (as this one can be an intense release) a variation of Camel Pose is perfect. On the days when you need a little more love, Heart Bed provides a gentler release. Choose the pose that works for you, and breathe into your open heart-space. Breathing is key. To do this, with each inhale open up and create the space for healing. With each exhale, relax and let go of anything in your way. After completion, allow yourself to move into Child’s Pose to calm your nervous system and retrain your unconscious that it is safe to re-open your heart. Be gentle on yourself. Be kind. Healing is a process. You are doing a beautiful job.
Credit: This has been written by Nicky C. Jones B.Ed, YTT. Nicky is on a mission to help people dealing with grief. She has developed a one-on-one Yoga Inspired Grief Coaching Program that works to heal grief on five layers of the body-being (physical, energetic, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual) which inspired her popular e-book “6 Steps to Soften the Symptoms of Grief”. She holds a Bachelor’s of Education and is a skilled, yoga teacher, yoga therapist, energy worker and Thai massage practitioner who wants nothing more than to lift the stigma of grief in our society one beautiful woman at a time. Find out more at her website where you can get free access to her e-book.
You may also like: Your Pain Is The Breaking Of The Shell