Yoga is a popular ancient practice that’s become increasingly mainstream, due to the pragmatic benefits of connecting mind, body, and spirit through one’s breath. For some, yoga is the perfect way to unwind from the day, get a good stretch, or supplement a weight loss program. However, you may be surprised to learn that yoga is a secret weapon, hugely protective for a body going through unusually stressful times, and divorce certainly counts. Here’s why hitting the yoga mat is especially helpful during divorce:
5 Reasons to roll out that mat, yoga during a divorce:
Let that shit go.
Yoga poses are widely known, for centuries, to optimize physical and mental wellness. If you’ve never tried yoga, you might be intimidated or think you could never do it. But, the point of yoga is not to achieve some perfect pose, but to let go of the constant chatter going on in your mind, and to come fully into the present moment in your body. Linking movement, breath, and awareness, even if (especially if) the poses are challenging or unachievable, is the magic. The practice of yoga escorts you into the present, with yourself, and your body on the mat, letting go of everything else. This state, of being right where you are with awareness, is called mindfulness, and the powerful benefits for your health and well-being is without debate.
When things are tough, breathe.
If you’ve never been to a yoga class, then you’ll soon learn that no yoga pose is complete without a breath. The breath in yoga is literal and symbolic: you breathe out negativity with each pose and focus on the present moment, holding the pose. It teaches you to take a moment and breathe in, when things are challenging or difficult in life; now breathe out, relax, and stay present. This is hugely applicable when going through a divorce.
Perfect is an illusion. (Let that shit go, too.)
Striving for perfection is one reason why relationships end up in divorce, whether it’s a demand you place on yourself or others. This toxic striving meets its match on the yoga mat. Present over perfect is the mantra, and transfers off the mat to all of life. If you’ve ever wondered why yoga is called a practice, this is one reason. In life, in relationships, in divorce, and on the mat, there is no perfection; only practice.
Accept the truth of what is.
Yoga is a date with reality. When you roll out the mat, you meet yourself right where you are. There’s no lying, bluffing, or bulshitting. Every single body differs, as well as every single day and every single practice. Toxic thinking and the toxic chemicals that go with it, get flushed out of your system, each time you meet the truth on the mat. There’s no room for out-doing yourself, the person next to you, just like there’s room for out-doing your spouse. The practice of meeting reality gives you strength to accept what is, which does your thinking brain, your nervous system and your emotions a huge service.
Drop the negativity.
Let’s face it, being negative is an easy indulgence when you’re in the throes of divorce. Easy to fall into, that is, but a hard climb out. Problem is, negative vibes in your body are only hurting you, and let’s face it, your kids if you have them. Daily yoga practice flushes the physiology of that negative energy out of your system, while giving you a break from the overwhelm of negative thoughts and emotions while you focus on your pose. Finding ease in the stretch is the literal experience, but it transfers metaphorically to real life.
If you’ve never yoga’d before, free beginners yoga on YouTube is a great place to start, as well as scoping out your local yoga studios for beginner programs. Yoga is truly beneficial from day 1, so don’t let false impressions of a steep learning curb stop you from getting your calm on. Even 5-10 minutes of yoga a day is very beneficial; talk about ease of entry!
If intensity and heat are what you’re craving, try hot yoga, which offers all the benefits of yoga plus some heat, for those times you’re craving a deeper dive into the present moment.
If I was the researcher type, I’d totally nerd out comparing those who move through divorce with the support of a yoga practice and those who don’t. My theory is that it would significantly improve outcomes for all impacted parties. But, since I’m not, I’ll just leave it at this: yoga will make you calmer, stronger and more flexible, physically and mentally, with a host of other health benefits to boot. Divorce may be the kick in the pants you need to give yoga a try, but once you experience the benefits, it’ll be a practice for life. I double down-dog dare you to try it.
About The Author
Alchemizing radical acceptance, fierce self-compassion, and a wiley arsenal of future-focused tools, Molly creatively engages her clients on a homecoming journey to the wild, untamed self. Drawing on a BA in Psychology, and 30 years of study in the field of personal development, Molly recently transitioned from Director of Training, Coaching + Facilitation for Stasia Savasuk’s wildly popular Style School, to a private divorce coaching practice. Guiding brave souls along their path to personal sovereignty, through divorce and beyond, is Molly’s jam. She contributes to the Avail community as a writer + group facilitator. Find her on Instagram @herwildhare