Water has such a cleansing healing quality but it’s not unsurprising we tend to overlook water as a source of healing and respite in our grief. In grief, especially immediate bereavement, we experience so many emotions, amidst all the tasks we need to handle. We sometimes forget to eat, we can’t sleep, would it be shocking if we neglected hydration?
In grief, whether bereavement or other experiences of loss, we tend to be stressed, and that alone will cause stress to the body. In turn, the stress in our body will cause stress to us emotionally, and it becomes a viscous cycle.
Approximately 72 percent of our body is comprised of water (the more muscle you have, the more water you have), Water acts as the vehicle that brings nutrition and removes waste from our bodies.
Aside from that, water has a cleansing and healing effect on us. Read more to find out you need water in grief.
Stressed bodies need water.
Water nourishes the body. It helps to keep our bodies at a normal temperature; lubricate and cushion our joints; protect our spinal cord and other tissues, and; get rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
Water also moistens tissues in our eyes, nose and mouth, protects our organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells, lessens the burden on our kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products, and dissolves minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body.
When we are stressed and in grief, we tend to be unable to think so clearly or decisively as it is, and we aren’t particularly in a yogi-like equanimous state emotionally.
Lack of water will cause further unclear thinking and mood changes when we are experiencing loss and grief.
In grief, we also may experience lack of sleep which may cause headaches or migraines. We may also experience tired aching bodies. Lack of water will exacerbate headaches and muscle cramps.
It is not unusual to experience digestive problems in grief and loss. Insufficient hydration also causes stomach problems. The list goes on and on: water helps with blood pressure issues (my BP skyrocketed during my father’s ailment and death) and water helps with cognitive function and managing moods (lack of water may cause anxiety).
Practically all of our body’s major systems need water to function and survive. And all our systems are dependent on each other for us to survive.
So be mindful of drinking water when you experience grief and loss. It can only help you.
Stressed minds also need water.
Water helps to relieve stress so much, and we know how stressful grief and loss is to us. Research has revealed that being just half a litre dehydrated can increase our levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. As such, staying well hydrated can help us manage stress. keep your stress levels down.
In addition, as mentioned above, grief and loss is already a stressful time for us. When we’re under stress, it’s likely we will get more dehydrated, because our heart rate is up and we are will lose more fluid through our laboured breath. Also, as previously discussed, during times of stress, we are more likely to forget to drink and eat well, so getting enough fluids helps to keep us at our optimum in stressful times.
This is why swimming usually is helpful in stress reduction because it has a repetitive mindful quality about it, plus you are totally immersed in water, with its cleansing healing qualities. Plus, swimming calms the mind through the colour you are immersed in – blue.
Emotions and memory.
Just having your awareness on your hydration during grief is a form of mindfulness. This may help you manage your grief better, and also helps us with our sacral chakra (svadisthana chakra).
Our sacral chakra (in Sanskrit ‘our sweet abode’) is the centre of our emotions and memories, including those that have traumatised us – which includes loss and grief, and all the ancillary memories that attach to who or what we have lost.
Mindfully attending to water, perhaps a water motif in your living space, or a flowing body of water (such as a river or the sea) can help us connect better to this chakra, perhaps revive some energy in it, and help our grief to ‘flow’.
The sacral chakra is our space to flow. Its symbol is underpinned by the crescent moon, think of the moon and the tides of the sea. Our emotions are not meant to be stuck for our mind to dwell on forever. Let’s be clear though: grieving is normal and ‘moving on’ and ‘getting back to life’ is not what I am talking about.
What I am talking about is the sticky tamasic effect when our emotions get us stuck to the point when they consume us in a never ending cycle, creating new triggers and patterns which trigger old patterns etc.
We are meant to flow with life, and sadly grief is part of life.
The water element is associated with the sacral chakra, and movement of the hips help us to flow. Here are a few yoga postures to help you connect with water, with the sacral chakra and with your emotions.
Yoga asana to flow and let go.
Any yoga pose that opens up the hips helps you to connect to the sacral chakra. Having your focus on the element of water within you and also without will help your sacral chakra.
In addition, you may also want to be connecting with your capacity to flow and let go. Check out yoga asana in the following blog posts to help your in your yoga practice relating to water:
- Yoga asana for the root and sacral chakra
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) and Trikonasana (Triangle) poses
- Reclined pigeon and Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby) poses
- Four yoga asana to help you let go
Try these yoga asana and yoga practices (the last link above), and tell me how it works for you.
If there is any way at all that I can help you in this journey, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yoga For Grief
A FREE online immersion through the chakras
A FREE 5-Day online yoga immersive course that will help you to:
- find some peace and respite from grief through the exploration of your body and mind through yoga
- practise tools and processes to help you find clarity and compassion in your sorrow
- find a way forward through grief that will honour who or what you have lost.