Forget The Ice Cream: Can Yoga Really Help You Get Over A Breakup?

There are seemingly fewer things worse than going through a breakup. Whether you initiated the breakup or were the one broken up with, it still hurts when a relationship comes to an end. Even if a breakup is a healthy decision that's for the better, it doesn't always seem that way at first and you may be left wondering how long the painful emotions will last after the breakup.

If your first reaction post-breakup is to reach for the nearest tub of ice cream and wallow in the loss of your relationship, you're not alone. One study found that breakups often lead people to indulge in self-defeating behavior like eating junk food (via the American Psychological Association). The study also found that people preferred to take part in activities that would give them short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term gains. Although you might feel better for a little while after eating junk food and binge-watching Netflix, there are healthier ways you can help yourself heal.

Mindful practices like yoga have quickly become a popular way for many people to manage their emotions and heal post-breakup. The practice of yoga originated 5,000 years ago in Northern India and is now practiced by people all over the world. There are many physical and mental benefits to practicing yoga, which is why so many people have added the practice to their daily lives. Even if you're not a seasoned yogi or have never stepped on the mat before, you could find peaceful solitude in yoga.

Yoga helps you regulate your emotions

Yoga instructor Beth Cooke told Well+Good that yoga not only gives you a chance to quiet the mind and sort out your physical body, but it helps you quiet your emotional body, too. She noted, "If you take a moment to pause and clear your mind by focusing on your breath, you'll have a better chance of looking at things through a clear lens after class."

Breakups can stir up difficult and dark emotions that can be painful to deal with. If you feel like your emotions are scattered and you can't get a handle on them, yoga can guide you to re-direct your thoughts to your breath. By thinking about your breath, you'll be less likely to keep going back to running through the details of your breakup.

A 2018 study found that in comparison with athletes who don't practice yoga, those who practiced yoga had improved emotional regulation which allowed them to better handful stressful situations. Yoga helps you regulate the emotions you feel after a breakup and builds resilience that future you will thank you for.

Yoga helps you heal

A breakup can feel like a heavy loss — one that you have to grieve to properly move on from. Healing from a breakup takes time, and since every relationship is unique, how long you take to heal depends on the nature of your relationship. 

According to relationship expert Nan Wise yoga can help you let your body release the heavy emotions of grief you feel and hold on to after a breakup. She told Glamour, "Going through grief can be an opportunity to learn new wellness habits like the regular practice of yoga, mindfulness, exercise, and even honing the ability to create more resilience and resourcefulness."

Yoga poses stir up a lot of feelings and emotions you won't always want to deal with but, fortunately, they also give you a calm space to release those negative emotions. Letting go of your anger, hurt, and sadness is essential when you're trying to get over a relationship and move on. By stretching your body and putting yourself into sometimes uncomfortable positions, you can find a sense of peace and relief with yoga.