Stretching for Grief

Are you looking for healthy ways to deal with grief?

It is commonly accepted that there are 5 stages of grief.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

While most people will have to go through these stages, there are many theraputic practices, forms of meditation and techniques out there to help ease the process along and bring relief.

Yoga, for example, has a number of asanas or poses that are prescribed to help 'close the heart' when one is grieving. According The Yoga Journal, healing and restorative poses include Child's Pose, Comfortable Pose and Standing Forward Fold, among others. 

The grieving process can be long depending on the nature of what you are grieving. The death of a loved one for example can cause grief that lasts for many years. While it may get better over time, it might not fully heal for a long time. 

I can't imagine that there is a 'best way to get through grief' since different things can work for different people. There are certainly not helpful ways to deal with grief... destructive behaviors like substance abuse for example. But even then, who can judge a person's process?

In an article put out by the Cleveland Clinic, there are 13 common and useful ways to deal with grief: 

  1. Accept some loneliness. 
  2. Choose good company. 
  3. Be gentle with yourself.
  4. Get extra rest. 
  5. Embrace all emotions. 
  6. Set a regular sleep schedule. 
  7. Move your body. 
  8. Talk to your doctor. 
  9. Keep structure in your day. 
  10. Set goals. 
  11. Be cautious. 
  12. Take care of your inner needs.

We've all been there and these suggestions resonate. As you would expect, moving your body is one. But how do you exercise when grieving and what exercises help with grief? While I feel fairly certain that almost any kind of movement or exercise would be good for you when you are grieving - as opposed to no movement at all - there is also an opportunity to target and help grief in a very specific and effective way through resistance stretching.

How does stretching help with grief?

Resistance Stretching - the form of stretching we teach at Bendable Body - targets unhealthy fascia. That alone will help release grief because your fascia is the storehouse in your body for all emotional and physical trauma. However, we can be even more specific than that! 

Lung Meridian Association with Grief

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are meridian channels running through the body. These channels are electrical currents housed in fascia. Each channel services an organ and is responsible for specific and universal physiological and emotional functioning in people. This includes grief. There is a meridian channel, running along the chest, the inside of the arm and to the thumb, associated with the lungs, that is where grief is 'housed' in the body. So when you get acupuncture in the points along this meridian, it will help you process grief. 

Similarly, when you stretch the muscle-fascia plane where the lung meridian runs, you stimulate the flow of energy in the meridian and it will help you to process grief. 

Why We Like Resistance Stretching Best for Helping with Grief

I can't imagine there is anyone out there reading this article who hasn't experienced grief at some point in their lives. It is a universal human experience. Instinctively and intuitively when it is happening to us or when we see someone else in the throws of grief, we know what they need to do... all indicated on the list of 13 above. The worst thing we can do is close in ourselves, isolate and do nothing. 

Having said that, we have seen on numerous occasions with clients and experienced first hand ourselves, the grace and ease afforded to processing a difficult emotion like grief when you enter through the doorway of the body, like we do with resistance stretching. Yes, it's helpful to keep moving in a general sense. But you can be more specific than that by targeting the muscle group with stretching that houses grief in the body. When you do that, when you process grief directly in your body, it seems to be gentler and easier than processing it in the mind. The only challenging part is actually stretching. Getting up and doing it when you are struggling to motivate to do anything. If you can overcome that hurdle, the rest is fairly easy. 

Stretching to help with grief can be done while you are actually feeling the sting of the emotion and also on an on-going and regular basis to deal with chronic grief. 

Watch this video and learn a stretch for the Lung Meridian to help with Grief.

2 thoughts on “Stretching for Grief”

  1. Hi Sita, hi, John,

    trank you for sharing all this great information!!! It makes the stretching more intense because I tend to resist more because of the traits I can achieve with the stretches!
    The “all in one” concept is amazing and I love stretching now. My body still aches here and there but it feels like having a solution now.
    I feel that my posture improves and that I am becoming stronger…

    My Dad had significant changes with his voice after stretching his stomach meridian – we checked it out if we could repeat it so he can work on it by himself and he noticed the connection – it is so interesting snd I am hooked!!!

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