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April 11, 2015

Ask me Anything: How do I Heal from Heartbreak? {Weekly Advice Column}

yoga adjustment

Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected].

I look forward to hearing from you!

Dear Erica,

I was with my ex-fiancee for three years.

On our three-year-anniversary he told me he was working late. I believed him. The next day I found out (because he left a hotel key on our bed) that he was actually having an affair with a woman he met online.

This was a lot to handle because I already had a lot of insecurities about my body and sex, and now the man I was going to marry didn’t even think my body was good enough for him– well, that’s how I took it.

Once we broke up I had a rebound—bad idea, I know—but the main purpose of that was for me to realize I can be sexy and naked and all that good stuff. But now, it seems like every relationship I attempt to have is hot and steamy, and if it’s not I find myself missing my ex. Every single day.

We split up two years ago. But, when I’m involved in hot and appetizing relationships he doesn’t even cross my mind. I’ve been single (meaning no male interaction whatsoever) for about five months now and it doesn’t get better.

Whats wrong with me? I just want to have a normal relationship. I just want to be happy.

How can I get over this?!

~ Alone

Dear Alone,

The way to get over this is to actually feel it.

You were badly hurt and betrayed by your ex, and your (very normal) response was to try and mitigate the pain by finding approval, excitement and acceptance elsewhere. Instead of processing your emotions, you obscured them by engaging in sexually intense relationships.

Underneath these relationships, though, the hurt is still there, just as fresh and new as the day it happened. You miss your ex when you’re alone because you have unfinished business with him—business you can ironically only resolve by looking inside yourself.

You’ve taken the right first step in deciding to be alone for the past five months. Now take it a step further. Dedicate five or 10 minutes a day to reflect. Make sure you will be undisturbed. You may find a quiet room and sit or lie down, you may take a walk or ride a bike.

During this time, allow all the emotions surrounding this guy, your feelings about your body, your sexuality or anything else loosely related to rise up. Do not fight them. Observe them as they come and go and don’t be afraid. This is the poison working it’s way through your system.

Also, use your words. Until you begin to feel healthier and stronger, begin keeping a journal. Write in it every day even if you don’t want to—just a little. Write down how you feel, write letters to yourself, to your ex, to God.

The idea is to excavate your heart and mind so you can see what’s in there and decide what you want to throw out, what you want to keep and what you still need to work on.

In time, you will be able to move on with confidence and more compassion toward yourself than you’ve ever imagined.

~

Dear Erica,

This is a yoga question.

What should I do when I feel like my teacher is pushing me too hard?

I never know if I should defer to her judgement or to my own. Even though she will often say “listen to your body,” she then comes around and adjusts me in ways that don’t feel good. It’s very confusing.

If I don’t do everything the way she wants me to, am I being lazy? Again, she says to take child’s pose if we need to, but I feel a lot of pressure to push harder all the time. 

I’ve been doing yoga for over three years and am coming to a point where I don’t want to blindly follow orders. I feel like I can finally hear what my body is saying, but maybe I am just deluding myself?

How do I walk that fine line between what I think and what my teacher says?

~ Yogi

Dear Yogi,

I love this question because I think every yoga student in the world has asked it—at least to themselves.

Sometimes it is hard to know whose voice to honor more—yours or the teachers. After all, teachers are certified to teach this stuff and presumably (hopefully) have a greater depth of knowledge than their students.

On the other hand, it is your body, and no teacher no matter how wise can share your experience of it.

So what do you do?

As you said, you have to learn to walk a “fine line.” Honor your teacher and her wisdom (unless you consistently have the nagging sense that you two are not a good match—then you need to find a new teacher), but not to the point of excluding your inner voice.

The fact that you are beginning to “hear” your body more clearly is a sign that you are evolving in your practice—embrace it.

If you don’t like how your teacher adjusts you, pull her aside before class and simply say, “This is nothing personal, but it would be great if you can pass me over when you do adjustments.” Most teachers have heard this request countless times and will not take offense.

During practice, learn to tune into the thoughts which are constantly arising. If the thought “I need to rest,” comes up loud and clear, listen to it, and while you rest, notice any feelings of guilt that may then arise from allowing yourself this kindness.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to become your own teacher, but we will have many guides and make many missteps along the way. Welcome them all as part of the messy, beautiful process that is growth and know that as long as you’re getting on your mat, good things are going to happen.

~

*Relephant read:

Ask Me Anything: Husband Struggles to Accept Divorce. {Weekly Advice Column}

~

Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: flickr, media library

~

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