Broken hearts come in many forms, and the pain that comes along with lost love can feel unbearable at times.
When these emotions surface, it can be tempting to try to protect yourself by hardening your heart to the world.
Yoga can be an extremely powerful tool to work through heartbreak in a healthy way, instead of building walls and creating barriers around your heart.
Here are six simple yoga poses to cope with lost love and open up your heart to the true freedom that love can bring.
1. Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is known as the "infant" of backbends, because it's so subtle and gentle, yet incredibly healing.
This asana literally stretches your chest and lungs, while relieving stress and targeting the anāhata chakra.
PS: You can totally make this a passive stretch and hold it while watching Netflix. I won't judge.
Maybe stay away from Nicholas Sparks, though -- just for the time being.
2. Bridge Pose
This pose strengthens your body and teaches you to use your breath to work through the uncomfortable sensations of your hard working muscles.
Bridge pose is a heart-opener that allows you to feel incredibly powerful, yet safely vulnerable.
Plus, it brings blood into the brain and glands to help regulate the hormonal and central nervous systems.
Breathe slowly and evenly as you hold this pose and translate the calm control in your breath to your current heartache.
Once you master your breath and body control, it will be easier to soothe your emotions.
3. Camel Pose
This is a pretty deep bend, so make sure to be safe and pay attention to your alignment.
When performed properly, camel pose brings a rush of liveliness and provides expansive heart space for optimal healing.
There shouldn't be any tension in your lower back, so tuck your toes if you need modification, and then simply focus on breathing.
There's not much room for your thoughts to stray in this asana, so enjoy the stillness and simplicity of focusing on the present moment.
4. Forward Bend Pose
The previous three poses opened the front of your heart, but most chakras are located at both the front and the back of the body.
Forward bend (uttanasana) opens the back of the body -- a very important aspect of heart-healing and overall balance.
Anatomically, uttanasana opens up the spinal column (where cells of the nervous system reside).
This pose invites your body to clear away any adhesions or blockages by stimulating the nervous system.
Make sure you maintain a flat spine before folding forward. Then relax, and breathe.
5. Pigeon Pose
Emotions like sadness, fear, and anger are often stored up in your hips.
As a yoga instructor, when I say this to my students, I'm typically met with extremely skeptical looks.
But I promise, hip openers really are a staple in healing heartbreak.
Think about how tense your hip flexors are from sitting, exercising, and just living.
During times of sorrow, they tighten even more, which is why it's so relieving to release that tension.
Many of my students have approached me and told me that they broke down crying after holding pigeon pose for a while.
And to this I say, embrace your tears -- let them flow, and let that sh*t go.
6. Child's Pose
Finally, settle into a deeply restorative posture, and allow your mind to drift into a meditative state.
Child's pose is basically the cherry on top of the sweet sundae of heart-opening asanas.
Many emotions may bubble up as you rest here, but instead of shunning them, witness them without judgement, like wispy clouds, coming and going.
It's OK to let yourself hurt and feel and mourn -- but know that this pain won't last.
Flowing through these poses will play a gentle part in the natural medicine your heart needs to endure its healing process.