Southeast WI Archive
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • August 2014
Written by  Andrea Smessaert

Yoga can help with getting over a loss

This article may come as a surprise to many, and might offend a few, but it comes from the bottom of my heart. Yoga has opened many doors for me, and has also created doors I had no idea existed. To go down the path of self-discovery has been a daunting task. It has offended many people who are just too scared to take a look at the deep and sometimes unpleasantness of life. I have lost some meaningful people in my life because of this self-discovery. But I’ve also gained many friends who are nurturing souls. I have reconnected with people who drifted away, and realized some toxic relationships needed to be let go — ones that I will always miss. As I write this, I am listening to Madonna’s song, “I’ll Remember” and tears are rolling down my face. For those of you who know me, you are probably scratching your head. Yep, Madonna.

Yoga is not all about asanas/poses. The physical practice is great, don’t get me wrong; I love a great vinyasa class. But meditation kicks your butt. Physical pain is fleeting; emotional pain is harder to deal with. Once we come to terms with the inner workings of our own mind, clarity or maybe muddy “clarity” takes shape. Wikipedia states “Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.” You do not have to sit like a monk to meditate. Meditation can happen on a good bike ride, shoveling the snow, driving your car or out on a good hike — anything that will help you clear your mind of the day’s crap that needs to be done. It is my experience to meditate in fleeting moments that come together to form a sense of clarity. And sometimes this clarity is very unpleasant. But once we deal with the unpleasantness and come to terms with that, we can move on to clarity.

Again from Wikipedia, “Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state — such as anger, hatred, etc. — or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion. The term ‘meditation’ can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state. Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes. The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as ‘being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself.’ In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.”

A very good friend of mine, someone who has had a huge impact on my life, sent me a BBC documentary of the life of Buddha. It is a documentary on “The Buddha, Siddhartha (He Who Achieves His Aim) Gautama.” It is on YouTube for those of you who want to watch it. Whenever I listen to it, it brings me back to the place I first listened to it. I can see the waves at my favorite beach, I can smell the ocean and see what I was looking at the first time I listened to this documentary. From Wikipedia: “Buddhist meditation refers to the meditative practices associated with the religion and philosophy of Buddhism. Core meditation techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have proliferated and diversified through teacher-student transmissions. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward enlightenment and nirvana.”

So on this very deep and scary topic, meditate and deal with your demons. It might not be pleasant, but a root canal is not pleasant either. 

Andrea Smessaert is a yoga and aerial yoga instructor who developed the aerial yoga teacher training program and upcoming retreats with Reaching Treetops Yoga. Alyssa Konda opened Reaching Treetops Yoga, which has branched out to offer not only yoga and aerial yoga, but also tai chi and Zumba classes, massage therapy and holistic health services as well. For more information, visit or call Alyssa at 262-501-1572.

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