The Journey Through Grief with the Navarasa.

Grief, a constant companion of loss, wraps itself around our hearts, leaving us adrift in emotions. We find ourselves lost, grappling with a current that pulls us under and throws us back to the surface in relentless waves.

In this challenging voyage through sorrow, we yearn for comfort, understanding, and a path towards healing. Here, the ancient practice of the Navarasa – or the Nine Tastes / Emotions of Life – offers a transformative journey that embraces the core of our grief and guides us towards inner peace.

The Nine Rasas: A Spectrum of Emotions.

The Rasa Sadhana / Practice, originating from Tantric philosophy, explores the depths of our emotional landscape. It reveals the spectrum of human experience through the Nine Rasas, each a fundamental essence of our emotional being. Like facets of a gem reflecting light, the Rasas unveil the intricate tapestry of our inner world.

In this blog post, we focus on two crucial Rasas that hold the keys to navigating the labyrinth of grief: Sadness (Karuna) and Peace (Shanta).

1. Sadness (Karuna): Embracing the Ache of Loss.

Karuna can mean compassion, but also means and represents sadness. She is the Rasa of tears and raw vulnerability, and manifests as the intense emotions we experience after loss.

She is the heaviness in our chest, the tightness in our throat, and the tears that flow freely. She can be the grief we feel as she descends into our broken hearts. She allows us to feel the depths of our pain.

Ignoring or suppressing Karuna only prolongs the healing process.

Here’s how we can honour Sadness and allow it to flow through us:

  • Witness the Tears: Don’t hold back the tears. Each tear carries a story – of memories shared, love expressed, and the bittersweet pang of loss. Let them flow freely, cleansing your soul and releasing the pent-up emotions.
  • Compassion for Yourself: Be kind and understanding towards yourself. Grief is not a sign of weakness; it’s the testament of a love so profound that it leaves an imprint on your being. Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge the validity of your pain.
  • Sacred Rituals of Remembrance: Create rituals that honor the memory of your loved one. Light a candle, write a heartfelt letter expressing your emotions, or hold a photograph close and share stories of the past. These small acts become anchors, reminding you of the connection that transcends physical presence.

2. Peace (Shanta): Finding Stillness Within.

As the intensity of Karuna subsides, Shanta, the Rasa of peace, emerges like a tranquil pool offering solace and respite.

In her depths, we discover a quiet acceptance that allows the storm within to settle.

Shanta is a state of serenity where the sharp edges of grief soften and a sense of equanimity begins to take root.

Here are practices to cultivate Shanta and find peace amidst the storm:

  • Meditation for Stillness: Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your chest with each inhale and exhale. Observe the thoughts and emotions that arise, acknowledging them without judgment. As you become present with the breath, the waves of grief begin to lose their intensity, and a sense of calmness washes over you.
  • Nature’s Embrace: Immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. Walk barefoot on the earth, feel the sun on your skin, listen to the rustling of leaves, and the gentle gurgle of a stream. Nature holds a potent power to soothe the soul. By becoming one with the natural world, you tap into a deeper sense of peace that transcends our earthly struggles.
  • Seeking Samadhi: Samadhi, the state of super-consciousness, is the ultimate goal of yogic practices. In this state, the boundaries between self and other dissolve, and grief loses its hold. While achieving Samadhi may require dedicated practice, its essence can be accessed through moments of stillness and surrender. Find activities that promote a sense of oneness – chanting, gazing at a candle flame, or losing yourself in the beauty of a sunset.

Dancing With Raudra – Managing Anger Through The Rasas.

This guided practice invites you to embrace and transform anger through the ancient practice of the Rasas. The practice concludes with a Pranayama practice to help you smother the flames of anger within you, while offering you emotional balance.

Rasa Practices for Healing: Integrating Sadness and Peace.

Rasa Sadhana offers practical techniques to integrate both Bhayanaka and Shanta in our journey through grief. Here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your daily practice:

  • Breath of Compassion: Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply, visualizing the raw emotions of Sadness associated with your loss. As you exhale, imagine radiating compassion not just towards yourself, but towards all beings experiencing grief in the world. Breathe in the pain of others, breathe out solace and peace. Repeat this cyclical breath for several minutes, allowing the boundaries between your sorrow and the collective experience of loss to soften.
  • Stillness Meditation with a Lake Visualization: Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and imagine a serene lake. Visualize the surface undisturbed, reflecting
  • Candle Ritual: Light a candle. Speak the names of those you’ve lost. Let the flame carry your love to the beyond.

A Lifelong Journey with Rasa Sadhana.

Grief is a lifelong companion, a thread woven into the tapestry of our lives. There will be times when Karuna resurfaces, bringing fresh waves of sadness.

Remember, this is a natural part of the healing process. Embrace these emotions with compassion and allow them to flow through you.

The Rasa practice is not a one-time fix; it’s a transformative journey that unfolds over time. By integrating the practices into your daily life, you cultivate a deeper understanding of your emotions.

You learn to navigate the currents of grief with greater ease, finding solace in the tranquil depths of Shanta.

As you move forward on this path, remember, you are not alone. Seek support from others who understand the complexities of grief. Share your experiences and find solace in the shared humanity of loss.

With dedication and self-compassion, the Rasa practice can guide you through the labyrinth of grief and help you emerge stronger, more resilient, and filled with a newfound appreciation for the preciousness of life.

If you need any help or have any questions, please do reach out to me. For a full practice on all the nine Rasas, check out the audio course below, available on Insight Timer.

Managing Your Emotions Through Yoga.

This is an introductory journey into the world of emotions through the Rasas, which is part of yoga and tantra philosophy.

During the 12 lessons, a unique perspective on emotions is introduced, discussing the concept of emotions as energy – or Shakti – and the Rasas as the essential expression of the ‘tastes’ that shape our human experience.