By Karen Nourizadeh, Pure Yoga
Break-ups can be devastating. Learning how to manage one’s emotions and thoughts in the aftermath requires some skill in order to heal both heart and mind.
Mindfulness and meditation techniques provide useful, practical skills to help heal after experiencing the loss of a relationship. As with any skill, time and attention is required to hone them, but once they are developed, the techniques can be applied in situations wherein similar emotions or beliefs are triggered. It takes courage to go deeper into our suffering, and confront how we are thinking and feeling, yet it is a crucial step to healing and then, letting go.
1. Be compassionate.
Observe yourself from the perspective of a neutral observer, without judging yourself. Let your mind quiet by focusing on the breath. Mentally repeat, “I am breathing in, I am breathing out.” Once you are focused, set an intention to be compassionate as you process what happened. Compassion helps to build self-esteem, often damaged after a break-up.
2. Let your intuition guide you as you move along your path of healing.
Intuition originates from beyond the realm of what we can perceive with our five senses. Intuition doesn’t necessarily mean logical, as the conscious mind is often logical, yet not intuitive. Intuition supports alignment with your inner values. Practice tuning into your intuition and listening to its voice.
3. Acknowledge your feelings.
In order to go beyond the superficial and let go, we must allow that which is buried underneath to rise to the surface. Feelings originate from the heart, so those must be addressed in order to heal heartache. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and ask, what feelings arise? Is it shock, insecurity, sadness, disbelief, anxiety discomfort, pain, abandonment, pride, anger or something else?
If you cannot sit with your feelings, try writing in a journal for 2 minutes. Don’t edit your writing, as what often comes up from stream of conscious writing, as with meditation, originates from the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is where our routine habits, patterns, and reactions are stored; the conscious mind processes merely 5-10% of thoughts and feelings.
4. Next, identify thoughts or beliefs connected to these emotions or to the relationship.
Often, our beliefs reflect a desire or need that is not being met. Ask what beliefs are contributing to or causing the underlying emotions or creating a story that you keep repeating. If you feel disappointed, you might think, “I will never find the right partner,” or if experiencing heartache, the belief might be, “Love is painful,” or “I am unworthy of love.”
5. Practice sitting with these beliefs and emotions, without reacting to them.
Reactions are often indicative of patterns within us that no longer benefit us. Ask, if you were to react, what would that look like and what are the consequences? If we delay our reactions bit by bit, we can become more aware of how to respond with discernment, self-love, and compassion.
6. Next, observe where emotions manifest in the body.
Three yogis whom I spoke with experienced heartache and shock, which manifested as tension, pain, or emptiness around the belly, heart, and throat.
7. Once you are aware of where you are holding those emotions, then you can pinpoint where the trapped energy is to be released.
Formulate a loving or forgiving image to help release and heal emotions in the body. One client saw an image of herself wrapped in an embrace with her mother, and she sent that image to her belly and heart, where she felt raw. That image, infused with love, served as a tool for healing that wound. You may also visualize a person whose advice you respect and imagine them speaking to you in a way that helps to heal the pain in the body.
8. Next ask your higher self, what activities can you engage in that will help bring self-love and nurturing into the process?
Perhaps, you are craving touch and intimacy, so you seek out friends, family, or other living beings whom you can hug, kiss, or just be near in order to satisfy your need. One client unearthed a feeling of loneliness, so she surrounded herself with people she felt safe with and trusted. Another yogi needed to be away from the drama of her break-up, and so she took herself on a mini-vacation. Don’t be afraid to ask of yourself or from others what you need in order to heal during this time. Self-love can be as simple as playing your favorite music, dancing, watching a comedy or running. Just be attuned to fulfilling your needs so as to not get pulled down by the gravitas of the break-up.
9. Set intentions or goals each day upon waking, utilizing the wisdom that you have cultivated through the above practices.
Acknowledge what is arising in your head or heart in the waking moment, then close your eyes and set an intention for the day. See yourself manifesting the intention, while you feel as if you have manifested the intention already. Repeat it at least three times in your mind.
10. Surrender and be open to the lessons that we might learn about ourselves.
Most of us are emotionally vested in our intimate relationships, and so it is a challenge to let go of our investments. If you need to forgive in order to let go fully, close your eyes, and imagine 3 people who you forgave and 3 people who forgave you in the past and why. See if you can apply this forgiveness to the present situation. Also, ask yourself what might you learn in order to make better choices in the future. Once you have forgiven and unearthed a difficult life lesson, it will be easier to surrender to what is, instead of resisting what is not, which merely creates more tension.
We may not be able to avoid the aftermath of a break-up but if we are mindful of our thoughts and feelings, and meditate upon how to manage them, then we can find the courage to heal and move forward in life, opening our hearts to a healthy relationship, with not just ourselves, but with others as well.
Karen Nourizadeh is a meditation guru for Pure Yoga. A former litigating attorney for Fortune 500 companies, after a decade at the top of her field Karen left her stressful life behind to embark on an enlightening path of mediation and mindfulness. Karen teaches weekly classes and sold-out workshops at Pure Yoga to a list of celebrities and some of NYC's most influential fitness personalities and enthusiasts that include yin yoga, tantric yoga nidra technique, general meditation, sleep workshops, and much more. Karen also brings her expertise back to the corporate world, lecturing for companies like Saks Fifth Avenue, NBC, ABC, American Express, and Tishman-Speyer, sharing tips for stress management and bringing meditation practices into everyday life.
Pure Yoga, founded in 2002, has risen to become the leader in yoga across Asia before arriving on the Upper East and Upper West Sides of New York in 2008. At Pure Yoga, members enjoy countless opportunities to advance their practice with incredible instructors in their serene, luxurious, and expansive facilities. What makes Pure Yoga different: over 350 weekly classes across 20 yoga styles including hot yoga, ashtanga, iyengar, and meditation; guidance from world-renowned instructors; an urban oasis with relaxing lounges, eco-friendly locker rooms, and luxurious amenities; and expertly curated events with global leaders in yoga hosting intensive workshops, teacher trainings, and exclusive retreats to Cuba, India, Hawaii and more.