August 17th 2006
This week in the Yoga for Grief Support class our topic was understanding the physical symptoms of grief.
From what I have learnt in my own journey and through yoga and grief training, I have come to understand that the body experiences grief in its own way. It has its own way of talking and of expressing the hurt and pain of grief. It's the body saying "I'm hurt."
These physical symptoms of grief are just like the symptoms of a cold (a sore throat and runny nose) telling your body that it needs special attention. When you get a cold, you rest more, drink more fluids and take the time to get well. The same is true with the body in grief. It's wisdom is telling you to take special care of yourself...Our practice is one of learning to listen.
Some physical symptoms of grief include:
I can list some general symptoms of how the body experiences grief, but beyond that it becomes a personal journey of paying attention, listening and having compassion towards your hurting body. Every body is different. Every loss is different. Every individual journey is different. These symptoms cannot be prescribed to anyone. It is a matter of feeling your own body and being curious about what you feel and why.
I came across the journal excerpt above this afternoon. It is an excellent example of making my own meaning from my experience...from feeling my body, and relating it to how I was feeling in a broad, all encompassing sense - difficulty and strain in "holding myself up." I truly believe that we all have our own answers, and given the time and space to explore we can make our own movement, and find our own way. Sometimes all we need is to know that our bodies have something to say, and that it is OK to listen. In fact, more than listen...we can trust that our bodies know what to do.
So, if you pay attention and notice how and where your body hurts, then you can decide how to take care of it. In hindsight (things are always SO clear in hindsight) I would have listened to my aching body and my sore legs. I would have had more baths, said NO to more commitments that made me uncomfortable and caused cramping in my guts. I would have rested more...slowed down. But, hindsight is hindsight....I did the best I could at the time with what I knew and I love myself for that....