Grief and your body

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: June 16, 2010

If you have experienced a significant loss you are probably aware of the damaging effect grief has on the health of your body, mind and spirit. Professionals agree that the natural grief reaction sends the body into the state of stress, invoking the well known “fight or flight” response. When left unchecked, this response may result in the increased likelihood of illness. It is important to participate in moderate exercise, eat a balanced diet, get a good rest, nurture your spirit and receive compassionate, non-judgmental support.

Yoga for GriefThis may be easier said than done; the shock and pain of grief may deplete energy and leave few resources available for recovery. Yoga and meditation may provide relief to your mind, body and spirit, and is accessible to all body types, regardless of yoga or fitness experience.

How mindfulness practices can help

Mindfulness, simply put, means paying attention to the present moment as it unfolds. Yoga and meditation are two formal mindfulness practices, however you can be mindful while gardening, cooking, jogging, or looking at a flower. The article Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Distress in Tsunami Survivors in the Andaman Islands supports the hypothesis that mindfulness-based practices are helpful for people suffering from trauma and grief.

Heather works with people who are bereaved in individual and group settings. Through breath, gentle yoga movements, quiet introspection and dialogue in a private Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session or yoga for grief class setting, you will be guided to become aware of your body and learn the tools you need for self care during this challenging time. Private yoga therapy sessions and groups are confidential, and will offer you the opportunity to speak and be heard in a safe, non-judgmental, compassionate environment.

Call Heather at 240-446-3030 for more information, class registration or to arrange a one-on-one session. You do not need to be flexible, in shape, or have any prior yoga or meditation experience. All grieving styles are respected.

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Living with Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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