Yoga for a Broken Heart. ~ Tracy Johnson

Via elephant journal
on Sep 5, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

The conversation went late into the night.

At midnight we opened a nice bottle of wine. To celebrate what? I’m not sure.

Finally admitting it to ourselves and to each other?

It’s over. It’s been over for so long. We’ve both known it but we’ve skillfully danced around it.

Last night the planets aligned, the stars collided and the full moon illuminated the truth.

We’re done.

4:00 a.m. I’m not sure if I slept a little or not at all. I’ve always thought I would have more success committing to my daily practice if I got up earlier. I’m pretty sure I’m not going back to sleep this morning, so why not start now?

I unroll my mat and stand in tadasana. The feel of my manduka under my feet, the promise of a deep breath, the words of K. Patthabi Jois, “Do your practice, all is coming” bring me fully into this moment.

Inhale. Reach up.

The pain shoots through me and I sink to the floor gasping, sobbing.

I hear the words of so many of my teachers in my mind, “This is your practice. Listen to your body.”

I fall into child’s pose, my body wrapping itself into a protective shell around my heart, letting the compression of my outer body hold together the shattered pieces threatening to fall into the earth.

My standard ashtanga-based vinyasa flow is not going to fly today. It is obvious, I need to find a different way.

Use this gentle practice any time your heart needs healing. Loss of a loved one, relationship or any time it does not feel safe or appropriate to open your heart.

Hold each pose as long as it feels comfortable and restorative. Let your body decide when it is time to move on. Skip any poses that don’t feel good.

Use props if you have them. Outside support is beneficial. If your body moves you in a different direction, go with it.

Be gentle with yourself. Breath. Remember this.

Child’s Pose


1/2 pigeon with forward fold

Downward Facing Dog


Lunge twist to Seated Twist

Head-to-knee pose

Seated forward fold

Yoga Mudrasana

Sama Vritti Pranayama: breathe in for four counts, breathe out for four counts.

Think of a normal breath as a bell curve with a gradual increase in the strength of the breath towards the middle and a tapering off towards the end. Sama Vritti breath smooths out the curve and makes it a steady, even line from the beginning to the end of the breath.

Savasana with folded blanket over chest

And when you’re ready, read this.


Tracy has been exploring movement in its many forms since she began dancing at age 15. Her career as a dancer and choreographer led her to the study of Martial Arts, Massage Therapy and finally Yoga. As a Yoga Instructor she combines an understanding of anatomy and kinesiology with creative Vinyasa sequences rooted in the Ashtanga style and influenced by her many wonderful teachers. Tracy teaches yoga to kids and grown-ups in Western WI. She is the creator of Little Lotus Kids Yoga Cards and teacher training program She blogs about yoga, life and love at



Editors: Lara C. and Lori Lothian

Like elephant Love on Facebook.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to [email protected]


4 Responses to “Yoga for a Broken Heart. ~ Tracy Johnson”

  1. Nancy Chick says:

    This is beautiful, Tracy.

  2. Jenn says:

    Tracy shares her beauty straight from her heart! Thank you.

  3. Parmita says:

    So true and so beneficial!!!! Thank you for opening your heart to write this piece!!! Beautiful!!!

  4. Yoga Teacher says:

    very nice blog that is shared by heart and thanks for sharing this