Yoga and Grief - This is the last photo of Dakota and I together at her Birthday in 2017.

Yoga and Grief

How Yoga Became My Anchor Through Grief - By Erin Burden

Reading time: 4 minutes

After the loss of my daughter Dakota, I found solace and strength in unexpected places – within the gentle embrace of yoga. In the midst of dealing with overwhelming grief, I discovered a profound truth: that healing doesn't always require lengthy commitments. With just 10 minutes dedicated to my practice each day, I found a sanctuary of self-care and a powerful tool for emotional healing.

Here, I share 5 ways in which yoga has helped me through the never-ending journey of grief:

1.Short Practices Can Make a Big Impact:

In the early days of grappling with the void left by Dakota's passing, I stumbled upon a revelation – yoga doesn't demand lengthy commitments. Initially, I dedicated just 10 minutes each day to my practice. These brief yet intentional moments became a sanctuary of self-care. I turned to YouTube, finding 10-minute classes that allowed me to gently ease into the practice and, subsequently, into my day. The brevity of these sessions didn't diminish their impact; instead, they became a manageable and powerful tool for emotional healing.

2.Comfort Matters - Pajamas are Perfect:

Yoga, in its essence, transcends the need for a polished appearance. Especially during those raw and vulnerable early days of grieving, my mat became a haven where my worn-out pajamas and unkempt hair were welcome. Embracing the simplicity of this practice allowed me to shed societal expectations and focus on the internal journey of healing. Yoga, it seemed, was not concerned with outer appearances but with the authenticity of showing up, just as I was.

3.Yoga Community: A Source of Support and Compassion:

Stepping back into public spaces was a daunting task, but the yoga studio proved to be different. Within the community of yogis and yoginis, I found more than just classmates; I found empathetic companions in my journey through grief. Teachers and fellow practitioners who knew Dakota created an environment of compassion. Unlike the avoidance often experienced as a grieving parent, here I felt seen and understood, reinforcing the healing power of connection.

4.Yoga is Inclusive of All Beliefs, Including Christianity:

An unexpected realization during this journey was the harmony between yoga and my Christian beliefs. The concept that we are all energy, a philosophy Dakota once shared, dissolved the perceived conflict. This revelation allowed me to embrace the inclusive nature of yoga without compromising my spiritual convictions. Who know, maybe even Jesus did yoga!

5.Yin Yoga: A Powerful Tool for Grief Relief:

In the pursuit of solace, conventional methods like painkillers and alcohol fell short. It was through Yin Yoga, especially with its focus on the deep fascia tissue, that I found a unique source of relief. The practice went beyond the surface, addressing not just physical pain but also the profound layers of grief. Unlike fleeting respites offered by other means, Yin Yoga became a consistent source of comfort, providing a sustained avenue for both physical and emotional release.

In summary, yoga, in its various forms, emerged as a guiding force in my journey through grief. Each lesson, from the brevity of practice to the inclusivity of the community, became threads interwoven into a tapestry of healing and resilience. Through the lens of yoga, I discovered a profound connection to Dakota, turning a personal practice into a transformative journey towards self-discovery and acceptance.


Erin Burden

Erin, is a devoted yoga teacher in Canada and Mexico. Despite the challenges of being a grieving mom, Erin passionately shares Yin Yoga in both places and on Zoom.