Much like with a physical malady such as chronic fatigue or headaches, determining what can be done for grief is primarily based on identifying the source of the pain. As with any emotion, though, grief can be as unique and complicated as the person who experiences it. In this sense, if a person feels a particularly intense bout of grief, they may be responding to the passing of a loved one or another type of loss, or they may be feeling an emptiness inside that seemingly isn’t a reaction to a specific event and therefore is a mystery in need of solving. Let us assume, for now, that you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a loved one and you are simply looking for general guidelines on how to cope with such emotions. As painful emotions are often a product of the mind, let us consider how to address them from a Yogic perspective.
Yoga teaches us that all negative emotions we experience are a product of a fluctuating mind. We experience these fluctuations when we react to something that doesn’t seem right to us — we feel angry when someone cuts us off while driving, we feel frustrated when we can’t accomplish a goal we are passionate about, we feel grief-stricken when we lose a loved one. The general system of Yoga, which includes not just postures but breathing, concentration, self-study, and other practices as well, helps us to lessen the severity of these fluctuations — we feel less angry, less frustrated, and less grief-stricken.
Therefore, the path of feeling less grief can begin with a Yoga practice. This can be as simple as spending ten minutes in the morning breathing in and out, and doing the same for ten minutes at night. Sit upright, either on the floor, a cushion, or, if this is uncomfortable, on the edge of a chair, and begin. Breathe in by expanding the abdomen for a certain number of counts, and breathe out by contracting it for about twice as many counts. If sitting for ten minutes is uncomfortable for you, begin opening up the body with a basic Yoga posture routine.
Grief, like with many negative emotions, will sometimes be an obstacle in life. It will hopefully be of comfort to you and your loved ones, though, that it doesn’t have to be a constant one.