The Three Legs Of Grief

Three Legs Of Grief

When a loved one departs there is grief. This grief sometimes challenges our faith and shakes us to our core: How can God allow such a thing to happen? Why do good people die early? Why do I have to suffer? Why me?

The following five stages of grief are well known:

1. Denial
The grieving person shuts out reality and refuses to accept it.

2. Anger
Moving past denial, the grieving person is confronted with the truth and is angry with himself or herself, or with others, or with God.

3. Bargaining
The grieving person tries to negotiate an alternative. The person struggles with questions like “If only I had done this, or that…”

4. Depression
The grieving person comes up with questions like: What is the point? Why bother?

5. Acceptance
The grieving person reaches a state where he or she is not consumed by grief. The person accepts the hole in the heart but is able to move on. Not everybody facing grief is fortunate to reach this state. The realization that our heart is a big place where both sorrow and joy can reside simultaneously is a tremendous gift.

How do we ensure that we reach “acceptance”, the final state of the grieving process? How do we make sure that we do not get stuck at some earlier state and consequently live our life incompletely? Remaining stuck in our grieving process denies us from enjoying what we have and what is possible.

Only those who have been through soul searing loss truly understand the full scope of the grieving process. This essay in no way tries to diminish or trivialize the pain or the difficulty of the process.

While the grieving process is well understood, the sources of grief are not well known. If we understand the legs on which our grief stands we are better positioned to deal with it. There are three legs on which grief stands:

1. Something bad has happened to the person who has passed away.
2. It is not fair. The person deserved to live. I deserve better.
3. I miss the person.

Bullets one and two above are “cosmological” questions that go to the root of our faith and our spirituality. If our spirituality is only intellectual then we struggle with these questions. But if our surrender has reached such a state that we have touched an inner level of peace then we have some recourse to go to. Sometimes the grieving process cracks open the shell and leads us to this peace, and becomes the source of our spiritual progress.

When we are able to acknowledge that nothing really bad has happened to the person who has passed away that is a big step forward. The understanding that our conscious experience transcends our mind and body is a giant leap. This leads to the acceptance that the conscious experience is a journey and there are many passengers along the way. Many passengers will repeatedly join us during this journey. Others will show up only once. This larger context gives our sense of fairness a new perspective. This understanding allows us to accept our loss without feeling wronged.

Yoga too can help us find acceptance of deep soul searing losses. This comes from the surrender to the deep inner peace that we experience from our practice of yoga.

“I miss the person” is then the only thing that we are left with. That hole in the heart shall remain forever. The acceptance process does not require us to either forget the person or bury the hole. Waves of grief may visit us years into the future. The beauty of our conscious experience is that these feelings of grief are perfectly able to coexist with feelings of gratitude and joy. Our heart is able to expand and accept everything that the conscious experience has to offer, and below the surface turmoil of emotions it is able to rely on the underlying layer of peace and bliss to sustain itself.

What Happens At The Time Of Death?
Your Pain Is Breaking Of The Shell

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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Pursuit Of Ignorance

Most of us are under the false impression that Science has “the answers to everything”. It is true that Science is a process by which we expand our knowledge. But it is also true that with ever expanding knowledge comes ever expanding ignorance. For every question to which we find an answer, there are many new questions that come up.

But beyond seeking answers and knowledge of the ‘outside’ there is a domain that seeks to go ‘inside’. This ability to know our internal world is Spirituality. This is a world where instead of knowing by dividing, we know by uniting. This domain gives us the Wisdom to deal with the expanding knowledge and power that comes from Science. It also gives us the Wisdom to deal with our expanding ignorance.

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Why I Really Teach Yoga

Cara Bradley

Cara Bradley

Recently I sat with my journal and asked why I continue to teach people how to move and breathe—day in and day out—over and over again. I recalled a quote by Lao Tzu—and the rest, as they say, just flowed out of me:

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. ~Lao Tzu

I teach yoga because I believe in your capacity to feel healthy and strong and I want to help you feel that too. I trust that when you let go and allow your body and breath to move freely, you will experience a profound sense of being awake and alive like never before. I want to help you trust that too.

I see how you weighed down you get by life circumstances— overloaded with stuff to carry both in your mind and heart. I know that you are bombarded with information about what to believe and how to live. I know how suffocating this can feel and I want to help you free yourself from these illusory burdens.

I teach yoga to help you glimpse the space beyond your busy mind where you are already calm and clear and I trust that with practice you can let go of unwanted emotional baggage and break free from limiting thoughts.

I know that with a little support and a bit of guidance, you can learn to trust that the deep stillness you experience in savasasana is really who you are—at the center of your being.

I teach yoga to help you become familiar with your center of being where you already have the answer—where you know who you are and you know what you want.

Credit: This is by Cara Bradley. She is the founder of Verge Yoga in suburban Philadelphia recently awarded Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2014. She has been moving bodies in and out of Up Dogs and Down Downs for 15 years. Over the decades she has been in the trenches of personal transformation and mindfulness as a teacher to thousands of students including CEOs, athletes, and college students. She also trains the Penn State University Men’s Basketball and Villanova University Football teams. Cara shares her daily practices and how she leans into her life as an entrepreneur, teacher, and busy mother on her website and blog.

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Five Golden Rules For Yoga Beginners

Golden Rules For Yoga Beginner

Yoga beginners face a bewildering array of choices. This article provides “Five Golden Rules” that beginners can use as a guide:

1. No pressure

Most of us have an action oriented and goal oriented mindset. We want results. We set mental targets to achieve some level of competence by certain date. With yoga you have to leave all this behind you. The only “push” you need is the one that gets you on the yoga mat. After that nothing else matters. Yoga is non-competitive and it does not matter if the person next to you is an “Olympic level” yoga practitioner. It is fine if you are practicing yoga for 10 years and you are at the same level as you started. Everyone progresses at their own pace.

2. No pain

While practicing yoga you should not experience any sharp pain. In the initial stages you may find that there may be some mild soreness that may result due to yoga. But this should not in any way hamper your daily activities. Sharp pain is a clear signal that either you are doing the posture wrong or you are pushing yourself beyond your current capabilities. Serious injuries may result and you want to quickly back off. Too much soreness or swelling is also an indication that something is wrong.

3. Breath and movement alignment

One quick test that you are in a great yoga class is that you getting clear instructions on how to coordinate your breath and movement. Correct coordination of breath and movement is vital. Yoga is not just control of the body it is also control of the breath. Proper breathing technique ensures that chances of injury are minimized.

4. Pleasant all the way

We got plenty of stress in our lives. A visit to the yoga studio should not add more. In fact the main purpose of yoga is to reduce stress. This is why the yoga practice must be something that we look forward to. A yoga practice is a chance to unwind. From the moment you step on the mat and do your first posture to the end of your practice, there should be a feeling of pleasantness.

5. No wandering mind

A yoga mat is not the place where you plan your day or mull over your problems. Your mind has to be focused on your breath and your movement. To add to what was said in 3 above: Yoga is not just about control of the body it is also control of the breath and a control of the mind. The relaxation that we get from the practice of yoga will be much less if we allow our mind to wander. The power of yoga comes from being able to disengage from our day to day thoughts and for the duration of the practice be completely focused on nothing else but our yoga practice.

So the yoga beginner can apply these principles to determine the answer to the following questions:

Q: What style of Yoga should I follow?

A: Follow the style of Yoga that you enjoy the most, that makes you the most relaxed. Yoga is not about getting a “workout”. The key metric with yoga is stress relief.

Q: What level of difficulty should I go to?

A: You want to attend a class where you can keep control of your breath and thoughts. This means you want to go to that level of difficulty where your breath does not become choppy/short while doing the practice, but it should not be so easy that your mind begins to wander.

Q: How do I identify a good yoga teacher?

A: A good yoga teacher provides instructions on how to breathe as you come in and out of your posture. A good teacher ensures that injuries related to yoga are minimized by providing proper instructions on how to get into a posture and out of it, along with necessary variations if they apply.

Q: Should I do hot yoga?

A: If you are comfortable and enjoy a hot yoga class, by all means do it. If however after a few tries you do not enjoy the heat then hot yoga is not for you. It may take a few tries to get used to the heat, but you should not force yourself into hot yoga if it does not seem to work for you.

Q: What precautions should I follow?

A: Be non-competitive, unconcerned with what others are doing. Focus your thoughts on your breath and movement. When breath becomes short or choppy remind yourself to stop and rest. Do not try and push yourself into a posture when you are feeling sharp pain. Listen to instructions provided by the yoga teacher carefully and follow them. If you have any back related issues or other physical or medical conditions, please let the yoga teacher know in advance. If there is any swelling or injury due to yoga or any other activity please give it rest. Check with your Yoga teacher if you need any variations or if you need to skip a class. If you think injury is due to Yoga, please discuss with your teacher and find out what went wrong and make corrections next time.

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” – BKS Iyengar.

Yoga is a great way to find health as described in the quote above. Please use the principles described here to guide your practice. Once your journey to yoga begins, you will find that the journey into yoga is a journey to your soul.

Ten Amazing Benefits Of Yoga
Top Ten Excuses For Not Doing Yoga
Eight Ways To Make The Most Of Your Yoga Practice
Six Ways Yoga Heals
Is Yoga Safe?
Why Yoga Matters

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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Locked In The Body But Soaring Free!

Ronnie Cahana suffered a severe stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome: completely paralyzed except for his eyes. While this might shatter a normal person’s mental state, Cahana found peace in “dimming down the external chatter,” and “fell in love with life and body anew.” In a somber, emotional talk, his daughter Kitra shares her father’s spiritual experience.

Luckily we do not have to suffer a severe stroke like what Ronnie underwent to replicate his spiritual experience. All we have to do is still our mind and withdraw ourselves from external stimuli. This is achieved in meditation. The practice of yoga postures and breathing exercises also help improve our meditative experience.

You may also like: Yoga Has Rewired My Brain!

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