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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Opening the Heart

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In yoga, it is believed that the hips are the emotional energy center of the body. The place where all of the past pain and trauma accumulates, clogging our well-being like leaves in a gutter.

And I think yoga is onto something.

For the most part, I gravitate towards an active practice, vinyassas that leave me sweaty and panting with muscles trembling from the challenge.

But those are the easy classes for me.

The hard?

Yin hips.

Yin is a form of yoga where you move your body into a particular shape or pose and then you hold the pose for an extended period of time, often somewhere between 4 and 10 minutes. The poses themselves are not difficult. In fact, they are designed so that you can maintain them with a minimum of energy.

So what makes yin hips so difficult?

The mind.

For the first two minutes or so of a pose, I’m simply learning to drop in. Feeling the edges of the stretch and focusing on my breath. And then inevitably, I realize that I’m gripping. Tightening where I should be releasing. And I start to consciously let go.

And it’s difficult. The hips spring back at the slightest suggestion of “Too much; I can’t do this.” from my mind. It’s as though they’re afraid of release. Afraid of letting go.

And so I breathe. And tell myself it’s okay. I can let go.

And by the time I uncurl myself from the form, I can feel structural changes in my hips. An openness where once there was only a blockade.

A freedom.

It’s a lesson that has to be repeated at regular intervals. Left to their own devices, my hips yet again contract and withdraw. Hiding from the fear of the pain and the discomfort of release.

And so I remind them again that happiness is found in the softening and accepting, not in the false whispers of hiding and protecting.

In yoga, it is believed that the hips hold our emotions. That there is a direct line between the hips and the heart. And I think they’re onto something.

Because opening the hips is exactly like opening the heart.

And it is at once the most challenging and the most rewarding exercise of all.


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10 thoughts on “Opening the Heart

  1. I just started my long stretches again in the hopes of integrating yoga into it. Although I am not one that can do these in silence, I use music to help me calm and feel my way through my body. And those hips-boy they don’t lie! I am ready feeling calmer, less heavy physically and emotionally and mentally. I even did them outside this morning in the sun and it was marvelous.

  2. “The place where all past pain and trauma accumulates”. That is extremely interesting. During this journey through he’ll, also known as family law, every time I ended up in court, or have to deal with my attorney, my back injury flares up (happened just a few days ago when I received my attorney latest bill). Have you found that yoga helps?

    1. Yoga has been an integral part of my journey. Not only did it help to manage the physical symptoms of stress, it taught me how to breathe through discomfort and not tense up in the face of pain. Hope the back feels better soon!

  3. I love this, and totally needed this tonight, thank you! Letting go, instead of holding tight…thank you!!!

  4. I need to try adding Yin to my mindfulness meditation practice. I need more practice in not holding on tight, to letting go. Thank you! This was very poignant for me and came at just the right time, thank you thank you!!

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