This week we have a guest blogger; the lovely Rhiannon Ford. Rhiannon is a regular at my yoga sessions. Rhiannon is a divorce consultant and coach based in Walton on Thames. She provides support and guidance to people considering and/or going through divorce. She previously worked as a divorce solicitor and has over 16yrs experience in family law.
She really is lovely and approachable.
The Benefits of Yoga During Divorce
Taking time to exercise gives you the opportunity of spending some time concentrating on YOU. It gives you the chance to take some well deserved time-out from the “busyness” of your life with all it’s stresses and strains.
You get to spend some important time on self-care which should be part, (however big or small), of our daily routine.
Self-care can be approached in lots of different ways and healthy exercise is just one of them. There are also lots of different types of exercise and it is important to choose what suits you best with what your body and mind will benefit from at the time.
Even those who don’t have a regular exercise routine already in place, can benefit from doing yoga during their divorce. Yoga can suit anyone. And for those who are already exercise bunnies, it is worth them considering adding yoga into their exercise routine for the added benefits that can be acquired during their divorce. Yoga is a kind and gentle way to exercise, where you are able to do as much or as little as you can manage in the sessions, depending on how you’re feeling that particular day.
Yoga classes involve some sort of meditation and/or relaxation time. The yoga teacher might talk the class through a visualisation or some special breathing technique. This helps relax both your body and your mind. Slowing down and deepening your breath also helps slow down the busy chattering mind which can alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety(often associated with divorce). Yoga is calming for mind and body which can only be a good thing for people navigating through their divorce journey.
2. Release of tension
When we’re stressed or anxious, we often carry tension in our physical body. This can show itself in the form of different types of physical symptoms, e.g. headaches and stiff/sore muscles and joints. All these can be quite common during divorce and I have had several clients who have complained of muscle and joint pain which they hadn’t suffered from before the divorce. I’m not a doctor but in my experience working with divorce clients, this tends to be a sure sign of stress. The postures and breathing techniques enjoyed in yoga can help release the tension and help to relax sore/tight muscles.
As you build up your yoga practice, you’ll find that the postures can help build strength in your physical body. Becoming stronger physically, can also help you feel stronger emotionally and mentally. This can be really helpful for those going through divorce, who may not have been feeling very strong about dealing with all the challenges they are facing in the family situation. The inner strength that yoga can contribute to, can assist in helping those going through divorce to feel stronger about the decisions they face and the changes taking place in their life.
4. Mood Enhancer
Exercise has been linked to increased levels of the brain chemical which is associated with positive mood and a sense of well-being. It is quite usual for people going through divorce to struggle with periods of low mood and left ignored, can sometimes develop in to symptoms of depression. The benefits of doing yoga, (as well as other types of exercise), can help lift the mood, helping to support those facing difficult challenges in their lives. Exercise and particularly yoga, can leave people with the, “Feel good” factor.
5. Helps focus
Yoga can help us focus on the present moment. Concentrating on the breathing techniques and postures can assist in putting worrying thoughts and feelings to one side, even if its just for the one hour of the yoga class. My divorcing clients often talk of their minds racing all the time with difficult thoughts and feelings. Ensuring they find ways to rest from this, for at least a period of time, is a really important way of supporting their mental and emotional health.
© Rhiannon Ford 2017
“All exercise is good for your mind and resilience not just your physical health, but yoga actively works on your mental and emotional well-being. So having it in my armoury when separation and divorce hit was really helpful. It gave my brain time-out from the emotional over-thinking and complicated admin. It made my body feel strong. I felt in control. It helped release the tension I was carrying and aided sleep. Certain poses help to release emotions or lift your spirits. Some class sessions were emotional for me, but I had a great teacher who knew what I was going through and knew why I headed to the back corner just in case…and always came over to check in with me.”
—AB from Surrey (a divorce client)