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heartbreak- Emotions, the body, Prayer and Yoga

jennifer vafakos surrender

jennifer vafakos surrenderThere are so many physical reason why heartbreak can hurt. Why I currently am feeling, any and all emotion in my body.   This past winter my mother passed. She was on her way to work and stopped to get coffee, got back in the car, placed her coffee in the cup holder and that was it. Gone. Because it was snowing she was found the next day. The police called me at work. I collapsed. Felt my legs go from under me. Do not even really remember the entire conversation. My boyfriend ran to my side and we drove the 4hours home to the small town I grew up in. Everything is a blur. I was in survival mode for the next two weeks.

Let me preface the rest of what I say by I expected nothing. She was in health, feisty and my rock which I spoke to everyday (most days a few times). This was an instance in life that knocks the flooring from under you and from that moment on everything EVERYTHING feels, tastes, breathes different. We all feel loss/ heartbreak at some point in our lives whether losing a parent, breakup from a relationship, loss of job spat with a close friend.

Where is the yoga… for me it is everywhere, in my breath and on my tongue.

“ When you feel alone touch the earth”- Thích Nhất Hạnh

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha– literally- gone gone to the other side, but we are not going alone, we go together. Or my meaning- Our journeys, our situations are different but we are not alone in what we share our stories will all prove to end the same. For in the end it is not what we travelled through to get there but how we evolved from it- together.

Its was the loss of breathe, the dizziness in my head, the voice that couldn’t speak the swelling of the throat, nausea sickness that allowed no space for food and then I couldn’t eat enough filling the empty.

When we practice or how I have been taught we deal with all the openings of the body all the emotions that flow through. Hot and sweaty cool and somber however you like it first and foremost it is the way I nurture myself flowing through the dance.

The loss of breath- (4 anahata chakra) the heart that wants to close and slump over. The dizziness and loss of memory the 7th (saharara) the internal fight against the reality of the situation and the acceptance of loss. Swelling of throat 5th not being able to speak what I felt. Nausea (manipura3rd)perhaps the most traumatic, the loss of the power and grounding I once felt I had.

I have spun myself back into my current life with no break for reasons of necessity financial and mental. I surround myself with a few beings I count on and am grateful. But by and large it is practice that soothes. It is going to a class sharing breath with another, teaching those I love and students I have grown accustomed to seeing, and my own practice for solitude and reflection. Allowing my body to do what it needs to do and move the way its wants without judgment.

How has yoga helped you both personal practice and group? When a student comes to me and says they are not flexible, I say it is why we do yoga. When a student says how long have you been practicing, when can I see improvement? I never give a definitive answer. “how important are you in your life?, spend some time and get to know her” the practice doesn’t build all at once but it needs to be tended to everyday. EVERY DAY. She will feed you she is waiting there for you. Let her know she is important.


Yoga is prayer, my prayer and as life goes there comes more on my alter, to remember, to be thankful,  to lift up my eyes and heart and smile…even when smiles appear difficult. Especially in difficulty say thank you…

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