I swore off hot yoga years ago, vowing never to return.
After returning to hot yoga last month, I’ve had a bit of post-grief clarity.
Let me explain…
In my early grief I rushed to exercise to help me heal. Half Marathons, Toughmudders, P90X, Crossfit, hot yoga…only to discover that I wasn’t healing but depleting the very energy I needed to heal.
I was using exercise to both self-medicate and hold on to a shred of my former self. Intense exercise helped me feel something other than my grief but at my body’s expense.
My adrenals tanked, I lost a lot of weight (if you are going to exercise you have to eat and I wasn’t doing that either), and I realized I couldn’t use exercise this way anymore if I wanted healing in my life after loss.
If I kept going like this, my deteriorating physical health was going to get in the way of the emotional healing I wanted.
Although I cut out my intense exercise, I tried to hold on to hot yoga because I loved it. I felt I already lost so much and it heaped grief on grief to have to stop doing the activities that made me me.
But, no matter how much I tried to force it, hot yoga was not helping me heal. The more I paid attention to my body, the more I had to face facts; hot yoga was taking from me more than it was giving me so we had to part ways.
I entered a season of long walks, restorative yoga, and rest. I loved and hated it.
I loved it because I started to heal – physically and emotionally. The shift was undeniable.
I hated it because I felt like I had to say good-bye to a part of my identity and I was so tired of having to say goodbye to the things I love.
Seasons of grief are so tough for this reason. A loss is never a single loss of a loved one or marriage, it’s a giant pile of gnarled losses, some tangible, some intangible, that all have to be identified, grieved and healed. It makes grief confusing.
What I couldn’t see back then in my grief (that I hope you can learn from me now) was I wasn’t losing hot yoga forever, I was only setting it aside for a season. I let my pain convince me that hot yoga was gone forever when that wasn’t the case at all.
I let my pain convince me that a lot of things in my life were gone forever. I said “never again” to so many things when I should have said “not right now”. Things I’m now realizing I can choose to have back in my life like dreams, goals, relationships, and passions.
So, since I missed it so much, I decided last month to give hot yoga another try. I’ve worked so hard to heal that it felt like the right time.
I’ve been twice a week for the last month and I feel great. Not only is my body thriving this time around (no more adrenal fatigue for me – thanks to rest and effective post-loss self-care) but my heart has learned to give myself permission to make the healing changes I need for a season I need them, instead of forever.
I’m revisiting so many decisions I made in my grief. It’s time for many new choices in my life. Less “never again” and more “maybe now” as I re-evaluate from a new perspective.
Don’t be afraid to set aside what isn’t helping you heal in your season of grief. When it comes to healing after loss, the choices you make now are not the choices you have to make forever. They are not as final as grief makes them feel.
Not sure where to even begin to heal your heart after loss? Download your FREE Grief Guide. It’s the best first step you can take.
What have you had to say no to after loss that you welcomed back into your life when you experienced healing?
Send me an email at Rachel@thegriefgal.com or leave a comment and let me know.