June 1, 2012

How to Survive a Break Up like a Modern Day Yogi. ~ Durgaya Palmieri

A recent move from my life in Atlanta to a spiritual community in Sebastian Florida, brought my relationship to the ultimate crossroads, and unfortunately it all  fell apart like a pile of rocks toppling over.

Since my breakup, my heart feels like it lives directly under the thinnest layer of skin, overly sensitive to every thought, loud sound or even touch.

Some days I go to bed feeling this way, and I wake up feeling this way only to repeat the cycle again. I have come to realize that “this way” I’m feeling is vulnerable. I feel wide open, the way that we strive to be in love and relationships, but I am not in the happy phase where being wide open and vulnerable means feeling more love and getting greater intimacy.

I am in a different phase where being open and vulnerable means, “this hurts like hell.”

I made the decision to leave my old life knowing that this was a possibility, but hoping that it would not be a reality. But here I am.

In honor of my decision to deepen my commitment to a yogic lifestyle, I know that I have to go trough this loss in a conscious way. I have to open to grace and participate in the things that are actually happening in my life.

It’s kind of a bummer. I wish I could just spend the next few weeks getting drunk, and casually dating hot guys but that won’t actually make me happy.

However painful this break up is, I think it is better to be vulnerable than the alternatives I can come up with, which is to close up, protect myself from feeling anything, to be mad at him so I can mask this feeling, to give up on love, to pack up everything I own and try to run back to him.

Yes, I think feeling this way is definitely better than that. Vulnerable is not a feeling I am accustomed to, not because I am insensitive, but because when I have the chance to feel vulnerable, I usually choose to just be “strong” instead. The irony is that being in this relationship is what showed me how to be vulnerable, and it was not an easy process.

I broke through barriers that had taken me years, possibly even lifetimes, to put up, and I worked hard to see those barriers crumble. I cried, I spoke my truth, I forgave, I asked forgiveness, I listened.

I did the harder things that love asks of us.

I may have to deal with the loss of a love, but I have to ask myself, how can I hold onto the growth and great opening this love has brought into my life? How can I be strong enough to be vulnerable and really feel this pain so I can truly move through it? How do I get from here to feeling empowered?

When we go through a breakup or any kind of deep transition, we are faced with the fact that something we put our blood, sweat and tears into isn’t working. We have grown out of our old way of doing things, or perhaps it never worked to begin with, so there is this empty feeling.

There is suddenly a void, a space in our lives that needs to be filled–but we can’t fill it just yet. First we must mourn for our loss.

As I can say from experience, this part sucks! As we mourn the loss of something that used to mean everything to us, we are finally allowed (or even forced) to really look at it. The truth is, if it didn’t work out, there is something to look at – and if we want to grow or change, we will actually have to look at it, and it will probably be painful, but this is the path yoga asks of us; consciousness.

As I go through this process, I am realizing that all the things I did to make my relationship work, I now have to do for myself in order to make my relationship with myself work.

I have to be honest with myself about why things ended up this way, I have to listen to my truth even when it’s “ugly,” I have to forgive myself for not being perfect…but it’s not all bad; this is what it means to grow up.

As we begin to see why and how things started to unravel and how we ended up a total mess, we are finally able to heal. In the grand scheme of things, when we finally put as much effort into the relationship we have with ourselves as we do with other people, we are finally able to stop searching for something outside of ourselves.

We are finally able to see ourselves as powerful, interesting, dynamic beings. We are finally able to find peace – a kind of peace we glimpse in shivasana after an amazing yoga class, a kind of peace that doesn’t change with the wind.

This kind of peace, the kind we get from an inner knowing, is to me, our connection to a higher power. Somehow knowing this is empowering, and I feel vulnerable and strong at the same time because I know that this also serves a purpose.

I know that next time I am ready for love I will understand my needs and wants better, and I will know myself enough to give myself what I want and avoid falling into the same patterns I was in before this relationship. So maybe this hurts like hell, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing; amazing things are manifested when we face our path in new creative ways.

The five tips of the yogi breakup survival guide: 

1. “Darkness is the absence of light”

In the first few days, weeks or even months of a breakup, it is common to feel pretty dark, maybe even emotionally exhausted or heavy. Relationships take a lot of time and energy and when one ends we are not only alone the sheer sense of change makes us feel lonely.

This loneliness can be especially scary when we feel or think that it is going to last forever. Try not to get stuck here. Take some time to get quiet and face your fears. Shine the light on the thoughts that scare you the most and come up with a mantra or simple saying to help you get though these dark moments.

Try: “I trust life to bring me happiness and love,” or “I trust my decision to leave this relationship because I know in my heart that there is something I needed that I wasn’t getting.”

2. Get moving.

Roll out your yoga mat, go to the rock climbing gym or go running, just get moving. Negativity lives in our body, which is why when we feel depressed we just want to stay in bed. Our bodies and minds are emotionally and physically exhausted.

Consciously open your hips in your favorite yoga class and release anger, go climbing and prove to yourself that you like a challenge, run and allow every once of sweat to represent a release of negativity in your life. The endorphins from any exercise will naturally make you feel lighter and happier so whatever your exercise of choice is, go for it!

3. Mourn your loss.

In yoga we aim to align our bodies and to move with the flow of our lives and breath. If your current situation has you down, take the time to look at it. What lessons does this time in your life offer you? How can you learn from this experience so that your next relationship is a fresh start and not a reason to live through the same hurtful habits?

4. Just as we need to feel the loss we also need to feel what we have gained.

Is there anything that you wanted to do when you were in a relationship that you couldn’t. Maybe your ex felt like you spent too much time with your friends.

Well, you may not realize it, but you’re free! In this moment you only have to consider yourself. Go do and be whomever you want, just take the time to be introspective. Do you feel like spending a lot of time with your friends is too much, or does this time with friends enrich your life?

The answer to this question will let you know something about what you need in your next relationship. Maybe you realize that you need someone who allows you to spend a lot of time with your friends. Suddenly you have perspective. Your last relationship wasn’t perfect, because none are, and there are things that you may want or need to be different in your next.

5. Facebook—don’t do it.

Sorry but I suggest defriending your ex. Don’t check out their page, because you don’t want to see what they are up to on a Friday night. Don’t stress yourself out wondering if they are looking at your page, or if you look cute enough, fun enough, fit enough. No. You already did this, in the beginning when you were investing in the relationship, and even then it didn’t really tell you what was going on.

Love, Gratitude & Good Luck!


Durgaya Palmieri is the creator and yoga instructor behind Kula Journal. A growing community of mindful yogis who enjoy life, on and off the traditional path. Her love of yoga and community has lead her to create KJ and to continue to seek out new contributors and readers who will enrich the yoga community with truly inspirational post, teachings and musings. Durgaya recently moved back to the spiritual community she grew up on, Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida


Editor: Mel Squarey

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