Power, Flexibility & Balance: Lessons from the Body to Heal the Heart.

Via Cristin Whiting
on Apr 24, 2013
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Just broke up with your boyfriend?

We’ve all been here before. Maybe more times than we care to admit. We know that we will feel better soon. It is only a matter of time, right?

But this time something is different. This time perhaps we are left a little more weary, a little sadder from another trip up and down and around on the relationship roller coaster.

This time, we don’t want to just let time pass until we feel better and then jump back on the ride again. This time we want to heal. Really heal.

The process of healing is going to require you to do something that perhaps you have not done before. You are going to have to press the stop button on the ride. Notice I didn’t say the pause button. The pause button would imply that you would take a break long enough to catch your breath, before you find a new flirtation and get right back on the same ride.

To heal, you have to be willing to give up the high (and the low). You have to be willing to be on your own for a while. Fully and completely on your own.

Here is what being on your own is not: It doesn’t include scanning for guys as you walk through the grocery store. It doesn’t include having the occasional hook up when you get lonely with the guy that isn’t really a relationship. It also doesn’t include tolerating being single while you are actually just waiting until the next really nice guy comes along. You know, the one that will be the right one.

Being on you own is just that. Being. And that is something that perhaps, my friend, you have not taken the time to do for quite a while.

You might be wondering what you are supposed to do while you are just being. 

Chances are, if you are recently out of a breakup, you have a lot of free time on your hands. Here is my suggestion for what to do next: Reclaim your house.

By that, I don’t mean that brick and mortar dwelling you call home. I am talking about your real home, your body.

So often in relationships, women don’t just give away their hearts. They give it all away, including their body.

In a really basic way, women give away the rhythms of their body to the needs, wants and desires of their mate.  They change their sleep schedule and stay up later than would be best for them so they can spend more time in companionship. They change the foods they would normally eat and even begin to take on the diet of their partner. They may give up an exercise routine they loved: morning runs with friends or hitting that early yoga class, in favor of staying in bed spooned up next to their fella. Other women drink alcohol, smoke or take other intoxicants in order to match their partner’s consumption and to paradoxically be with him.

Still, other women give away their bodies with sex. They agree to have a kind of sex they really don’t want to have or they don’t assert their pleasure so that the kind of sex that they do want to have is incorporated into their sexual play.

When the relationship ends, women are often left with the experience of having a huge hole in their lives. A hole they feel emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Here’s the kicker. Chances are that hole was there all along, but when that last relationship came along, the hole miraculously vanished. But now that the relationship is gone the hole is back. It is back because it was never gone in the first place. It is back because no one can do for you what you need to do for yourself. For that hole to be filled, it can ultimately only be filled by you.

Many times women think the answer to healing their heart is to open their heart, as if not loving enough was the reason why their relationships haven’t worked so far. Try this instead: Give your heart a break. It has been through enough. Give your head a rest also. Running those thoughts around your brain isn’t going to get you anywhere but where you’ve already been.

The process of going from hole to whole can actually begin with the body.

When our being is in alignment we experience power, flexibility and balance on all levels: in our body, mind and spirit. It is possible to cultivate these qualities of power, flexibility and balance first in our bodies and through the physical practice we can come to learn through metaphor the spiritual and emotional lessons.

Notice for yourself the next time you are in movement what parts of your physical self are over developed and what parts of your physical being are underdeveloped.

Maybe you are all force but lack real power. Maybe you move through space with aggression and yet with no grace. Maybe you are all grace but lack assertion so that the space you inhabit is poorly defined. Maybe you are flexible but lack the strength to ultimately support yourself. Maybe your sense of center is off, and balance comes through effort and grit as opposed to being a space of elevation and repose.

BalanceSee what lessons your body has to teach you. Notice where you resist developing your physical body. Do those places of resistance parallel in any way the places you resist developing emotionally or spiritually? Do you prefer the calm of deep stretch but resist energizing exercise? Do you also notice in your life that you accommodate and bend but shy away from interactions that call you to stand in your power? Perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps deep stretching seems pointless to you. Do you also notice it is difficult to let go emotionally or to surrender the need for control?

This isn’t an exact science, but our bodies are our teachers and our bodies don’t lie.

Get in touch with the lessons of your body and create a practice of consistent movement that brings you into your soma. Yoga, dance, hiking, rock climbing—it doesn’t matter what it is—let it be something that brings you into your body with pleasure and vitality. Let it be something that brings you into relationship with your core self, with your highest self, with your God-like self.

In so doing, you will begin to hear the voice of your teacher, your inner companion. The one that you have not listened to in a while. The one that has been patiently waiting to be heard by you, so that it can guide you to that healing place of peace and love that you have been looking for all of those relationships ago.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel


About Cristin Whiting

Cristin is a writer, professor, clinical psychologist, and Catholic-Buddhist-Hindu-Ashtangi. When she is not creating evolution on the planet, you can find her making homemade lemonade and camping out in a tent in her back yard with her two children and their dog, Molly. You can follow Cristin on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.


21 Responses to “Power, Flexibility & Balance: Lessons from the Body to Heal the Heart.”

  1. Bela says:

    Excellent writing and great perspective; I really don't want to relate to what you claim women give away in relationships but in some ways I do relate.

    All men and women are influenced by friends and lovers. This is necessary so we can better adapt to our environment and live in harmony with our mates. It also opens us up to new experiences, some of which we end up liking!

    The problem comes when there is an imbalance and we start giving away more that we are comfortable with, when we allow our wants/needs to be absorbed by the wants/needs of our "other half". Sometimes we stay with someone who doesn't share our values because we have compromised so much that our desires got lost along the way. Maintaining one's own identity is really important for both people because in the end it's the only thing you really have.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Cristin Whiting says:

    Bela, Thank you for reading the article and for taking the time contributing here!

    Very Best,


  3. Dori says:

    This is the best (most thoughtful and well-written) article I've read on this site. Thank you. It's ironic to me that with such an emphasis on "the body" in yoga these days, there is so little attention paid to the mind-body connection, to what our bodies can tell us about our essential beings and about being present. I practice Embodyoga, which instructs what your article suggests. Listening to, or otherwise sensing, one's body, is one of the most rewarding parts of yoga practice. As your article suggests, though, this giving our attention is not limited to the time on the yoga mat, but to the moments of our days. Thank you for this important reminder.

  4. Cristin Whiting says:

    Dori, I am touched by your kind remarks. They literally brought tears to my eyes. I had not heard of Embodyoga but I am going to check it out. It sounds like it is right up my alley. All the best, Cristin

  5. Kayla says:

    This article could not have come at a better time in my life! My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years recently broke up with me and to say I was devastated would have been the understatement of the year. Thankfully (or not-so thankfully, I'm not sure which) I've had many friends through the years jump from one relationship to the next without giving themselves time to grieve and reconnect with their OWN personal self and it just never ends well. I promised myself I'd never be like that and I'm not. I'm handling this break up one day at a time and just learning to love the true person I am and rediscovering myself again, SINGLY.

    Things like this article let me know I'm on the right path and to keep doing what I'm doing ^.^

  6. Cristin Whiting says:

    Kayla–Good for you! A day at a time is the way to go. So glad you found your path reflected back to you in the article!
    Your comments are appreciated!

    Very Best,


  7. shannon says:

    Having just gone through a breakup, this resonates heavily with me. I really enjoyed this. Thank you.

  8. Cristin Whiting says:

    Shannon–Thanks for sharing your thoughts and letting me know you enjoyed the article. Good luck to you.



  9. allison says:

    My favorite article I have ever read. Needed this more than ever. Thank you

  10. Cristin Whiting says:

    Allison-Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that the article meant that much to you. Blessings, blessings…The journey has just begun.



  11. Kathy says:

    Thanks for this wonderful article … no coincidence that it came into my realm this day. Just what I needed to hear – thanks for the validation. At 55, I am giving myself permission to really know who I AM. You can't love another unless you love yourself first. Blessings.


  12. Cristin Whiting says:

    Kathy–I am so glad that you and this article found each other. Thank you for letting me know it spoke to you and where you are in your journey. Here's to traveling our path!

    Blessings back at ya'


  13. Courtney says:

    I needed this today. Thank you.

  14. Cristin Whiting says:

    Thank you for writing and reading, Courtney! Know that the article made a difference for you is my reason for writing at all.

    All The Best,


  15. Meredith says:

    Beautifully written! You are really on to something here. We need more awareness brought to our mind~body~spirit connection. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. Thanks Cris!!:-)

  16. Cristin Whiting says:

    Thank you, Meredith! Much love to you.


  17. The healing power of yoga never stops amazing me. Thanks for the posting, it was jut what I needed at the end of a long day.

  18. Cristin Whiting says:

    Thanks, Yogi–As was your comment letting me know you read and enjoyed the article.



  19. artatheart512 says:

    As always insightful and soulful. I miss you! ~ Teresa

  20. David says:

    I'm two-three weeks into a break-up and I have been finding it really hard (mostly because it was not my choice).. I feel, even as a 'mere' man that I tend to do just what you mentioned in your article, give too much of myself away to the other person, so when it all falls apart I feel 'lost'.. I am finding new ways to heal myself and to love myself more (always easier said than done).. So Thank-you for this article, i can see a lot of it will be very helpful to myself (as I see the principles you discuss are not necessarily gender-specific). Particularly to do with 'being' by myself.. I tend to go for a while between relationships (sometimes it feels like too long), but I can see that I need to use this time to reconnect with myself (I was planning on radically changing my life to be with this person (we live in separate countries & I have children, so the implications of what 'we' were planning were quite far-reaching).
    I hope you don't mind, but when I find articles like this I cut an dpaste them, so i canrefer back to them, to remind myself of what I need to be doing..
    Thank-you again, for your wisdom you express through these words.. day at a time is the way forward, a lot of soul-searching too and to work on the parts of myself that I am not happy with…
    take care
    love & light

  21. Charan Rose says:

    I was dumped a few days ago. I have been early rising and turning to EJ to find some clarity on why. This article came to me at the perfect time. I lay in bed last night thinking about my body and how I have ignored its messages to me for too long…the result has been my soul is now depleted of any direction back to me. My body prevailed -finally. It has made my fingers and my brain find this article and the signal is coming in strong. Thank you for sharing your clarity with us. It has not gone unnoticed by me, and probably thousands of others that are searching for that kind of validation that only like souls can share.