How yoga has supported me through grief

Founder of The Wellbeing and Wellness Coach, Susan, talks about how yoga has helped her process grief and what it has taught her about dealing with loss.

The start of 2022 has been challenging on a level that is hard to describe. As we opened the doors to our new yoga studio in Burntwood, a close relative called Jackie was losing their fight with pancreatic cancer. Jackie was one of those people who shone like a star. She was fun loving and caring in a way that was truly inspirational and her passing has left a hole in the lives of many.

Yoga has taught me a lot about how to process emotion and how to deal with loss. It has taught me how to find peace and comfort in amongst the pain of grief. Before I began practicing yoga, I first encountered significant grief at the age of just 16 years old. This was when I lost my mum to cancer after an 18-month battle. This sadly was the start of a journey where I lost several important people in a relatively short space of time. I did not handle loss well in those formative years. I found the pain too much to bear and would attempt to numb it out with alcohol, food, spending and many other unhealthy coping mechanisms. My journey with yoga has helped me to understand how to tolerate pain, how to manage emotions in a healthier way and how to find happiness.

In this blog I’m sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned.

We are all individual and every loss is unique

There is so much publicised about the stages of grief and the journey we are supposed to travel as we go through this process. The reality is that grief is messy and doesn’t follow a set of rules. We are all different and every single person will feel grief and loss in a different way. Also, every single loss will be felt by an individual person in different ways. We are all unique and every loss is unique. Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way at a certain time. Just let what comes come and give yourself time to process what has happened in whatever way you need.

We can’t remove pain, but we can learn to tolerate it and process it

Yoga isn’t about living in a perfect bubble where pain and challenge does not exist. Challenging times are a part of life and we cannot avoid encountering pain and heartache. What yoga teaches us are tools to help us cope with the waves of life and to cope when tough times arise. Yoga and meditation if practiced regularly can help to teach us to observe the pain and emotion we feel much more objectively. We can learn to separate ourselves from the emotions we experience and learn how to tolerate the sensations we feel. We can learn how to observe and process what we’re experiencing which helps us move forward and find peace.

Feeling is ok and embrace the tears

Sometimes you just have to become undone. If you need to cry, shout or scream this is absolutely ok. Feeling is ok and we need to feel in order to process what has happened. Our yoga practice can help us to identify, release and process our emotions. Leaning into the pain and processing it is far more effective and far healthier than trying to numb it out. Practicing yoga is not about always being happy and not feeling anything tough. It’s about learning how to feel, how to process and how to nurture ourselves well.

It’s ok to smile and laugh again

So many people feel guilt when they laugh again after loss or when they feel joy in living life again without their loved one. Being happy and laughing again does not mean you don’t care or that the loss still doesn’t hurt like hell. It just means your processing what has happened and you’re allowing yourself to live again. This is absolutely ok. You are allowed to, and deserve to, move forward and embrace happiness in life while still holding the memories of your loved one close.

Give yourself time and know that it’s a journey

Life after loss takes time to figure out. Some days you’ll feel like you’re figuring it out and you’re in control. Other days you may not know how you’ll get through the day. It’s a journey, it’s a process and we are all unique human beings that deal with things in different ways. Just know that things will get better and life will feel lighter again. Be kind to yourself and take your time.

Susan is a yoga teacher and wellbeing coach who has founded The Wellbeing and Wellness Coach. You can read more at

4 thoughts on “How yoga has supported me through grief

  1. I found death hard to deal with in my teens, I had a school friend who died whilst she was on holiday & I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her parents nor did I attend her funeral. I have lost both of my parents & also both my in-laws, I think about them every single day but the loss of my Dad 5 years ago saw my mental health take a nose dive. I am still only now, just getting myself back on track, there have been some significant lows, where I didn’t know if I could come back & I still feel bruised, but hope, light & happiness is back in my life & I am thankful.

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