Yoga for Grief and Loss: Poses, Meditation, Devotion, Self-Reflection, Selfless Acts, Ritual
Just as grief is an experience that affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually, yoga sustains and strengthens us in all of those same areas. This book demonstrates how the principles and practices of yoga can help relieve symptoms of grief allowing those who have experienced loss to move toward wholeness, peace, and feelings of connection with loved ones who have died.
Exploring the six branches of yoga, the book shows how each branch can support us through grief in different ways whether it be the self-reflection of Jnana Yoga, the spiritual devotion of Bhakti Yoga, the meditation of Raja Yoga, or the physical postures of Hatha Yoga. We are shown how to begin and sustain a personal practice, both on and off the yoga mat, which helps us to cope with and move through grief on multiple levels. Expressive and experiential exercises are included to help explore each of the branches of yoga and find ways to put the tenets of each branch into real life practice.
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About the Author
Karla Helbert's new book, Yoga for Grief and Loss, is much more than its mere title. This book contains within its pages the depth and breadth of grief's nuances, its crevices, its core questions. It is a navigable, shimmering gift that invites the bereaved reader through the darkness of mourning. Practical yet deeply numinous, I recommend Helbert's Yoga for Grief and Loss highly; not as a means to heal or cure or overcome grief-rather, this book will help grievers to be with, turn toward, and grow through grief. Few authors have accomplished this with such honesty and grace.--Joanne Cacciatore PhD, Professor Arizona State University, Author of Selah: An Invitation Toward Fully Inhabited Grief, Founder of The MISS Foundation
Finally! In a sea of books on grief that fall dismally short, Karla Helbert skillfully presents a path that companions pain, rather than trying to solve it. Through the lens of yoga, Helbert demonstrates that the true teachings of all spiritual traditions help us find ways to bear the life that's asked of us. We can hold deeply disparate realities - worlds of pain, worlds of comfort - without being forced to choose between the extremes of endless sadness or faux-positivity. Yoga for Grief and Loss is part of a new paradigm of books helping to change the way our culture tends to grief.--Megan Devine, Licensed Professional Counselor, founder of Refuge in Grief, author of Everything is Not Okay
This very profound yet practical guide reviews what yoga can offer to someone grieving a loss. Sensitively written and incorporating very current understandings of grief, Karla Helbert's Yoga for Grief and Loss offers wisdom and ways to "adapt, adjust, and accommodate" to our new, however unwelcome, reality.--Kenneth J Doka, PhD, Professor, The College of New Rochelle, Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America
In my own grief experiences and sitting with many bereaved students over many years, I have often marveled at grief's capacity to cut through all that is unreal and unimportant and to focus a laser beam of light onto the deepest longings of one's soul, to push aside all the trivialities of everyday life, until all that's left is loving. Karla's book reflects and honors this profound gift of grief.
Unlike so many well-meaning "Yoga for ...." books, this book is not about a prescription to do anything. It is not the disconnected (or misdirected) directive of the therapist or yoga teacher. Rather it is a profound and profoundly loving acknowledgement of grief as an individual process, born out of, and in fact, a form of, love.
This book will absolutely become required reading for trainees in my Integrated Movement Therapy training program - it is not only packed with wisdom on yoga, it is truly an invitation for all of us to meet the grieving, and grief itself with a humble sense of spaciousness and allowing. This book is truly a gift.
Raja Yoga has been defined as the Psychology and Philosophy of yoga, two relevant sciences that help us deal with the unknown, such as loss and death. How we deal with them in a way that helps us grieve and find meaning, minimizing suffering and transforming it into wisdom, is the focus of this book.
It is deep and authentic, coming from Karla's personal experience with the loss of her firstborn baby, and from her intense study of Raja Yoga, the study of the mind and human behavior, also the foundation of her Integral Yoga teacher training.
I am in awe of her amazing gift of transforming and making available to all, what could be a dry academic study of the ancient texts into a very practical yoga therapy tool that addresses the devastating effects of grief and loss through Yoga. Such a refreshing, effective and inspiring approach!
As a Board Certified Chaplain working in hospital, hospice, nursing and aging facilities since 1998, I find Karla's book a very useful tool for those in grief, I believe Karla's explanation of the yogic life style and its many paths, to be very inclusive, easy to read, study, and incorporate into anyone's own life. I congratulate Karla Helbert for presenting to the public this useful tool for dealing with grief from the yogic perspective.--Swami Sarvaananda, PHD, BCC, PHD in Education Administration, University of Connecticut, 1980, BCC: board certified chaplain, Association of Professional Chaplains
What a treasure! This is the book that my heart longed for when my own child died and I cast about for something to both acknowledge and bless the transformational fire sweeping through the landscape of my soul. With deeply grounded wisdom, Karla Helbert simultaneously affirms the unmitigated pain of losing someone we love and offers trustworthy tools to help us navigate the wilderness of loss. By engaging the ancient systems of Yoga, we are guided to embrace our grief as the sacred state it is and allow ourselves to connect with the Love that "yokes" us together for all of time.--Mirabai Starr, Translator of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, author of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation (Sounds True)
Karla Helbert knows the territory of grief. Her deep spiritual understanding, through the philosophy and practice of Yoga, is the GPS that helped her navigate the death of her infant son. This is not a book of postures, although they are included. Through the essential teachings of yoga, Helbert's Yoga for Grief and Loss shines a light through the clouds of unknowing that follow loss. Let the gift of these teachings be your ultimate guide to welcoming all that arises through bereavement. Read the book and practice the many self-inquiry exercises, meditations, mantras, mudras, yoga breathing exercises and postures, and you will ride the waves of your loss home to who you truly are.--Amy Weintraub, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, author of Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books) and Yoga Skills for Therapists (W.W. Norton)
A wonderful book that helps to unite our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states during times of grief and loss. It offers a practical guide to yoga so we can move close to wholeness and harmony. The book contains practical tips and almost 100 asanas, meditations, breathwork, journaling and the creation of rituals to find our unique path through grief towards peace and connection. Highly recommended.--Yoga Magazine