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If you’ve had an abortion or a miscarriage, yoga can be a helpful sanctuary—a safe space for you to release emotions and to cultivate a connection with yourself. These experiences can be traumatic and grief-inducing. They may also bring mixed emotions. Please know that no matter what you may be feeling, you are not alone in this journey. One in four women will have an abortion, and about 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
As a health care practitioner specializing in women’s health, I often prescribe yoga to my patients for the grief and trauma associated with abortion or miscarriage. The practice is flexible enough to meet you where you are, and it can help you process a range of emotions. It can calm your mind and help you to begin healing.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there is a special energetic connection between the heart and the uterus. Anytime trauma impacts either the uterus or emotions of the heart, the other can be affected. When you suppress an emotion, you contribute to a state of internal imbalance.
Try this TCM-inspired practice to support yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You’ll begin with acupressure tapping—stimulating a set of points to release trauma, grief, and anxiety. Then, you’ll move into a gentle seated flow, allowing your pelvic floor to be grounded to instill a feeling of safety and connection. Finally, there will be a meditation, allowing space to (re)connect your heart and womb.
You’ll need a blanket and a block for this practice.
Top of Head (DU 20)
This point allows thoughts that do not serve us to be cleared from the mind. Tap along the midline of the top of your head 30 times with a medium frequency and pressure.
Third Eye (Yin Tang)
This point calms the mind. Place four fingers in a line from the center of your eyebrows to the center of your forehead and tap 30 times with a medium frequency and pressure.
See also Chakra Tune-Up: Intro to the Ajna
Middle of the Philtrum (DU 26)
This point will return consciousness, which can be scattered if you’ve experience trauma. Place two fingers on the middle of your philtrum, the vertical groove between your nose and upper lip. Tap 30 times with a medium frequency and pressure.
Medial to Shoulder Joint and Inferior to Clavicle (LU 1)
This point helps release and process sadness and grief. Find the depression just below your clavicle (collarbone) and toward your chest. Tap 30 times with a medium frequency and pressure.
Middle of Sternum (REN 17)
This is a point to process emotions of the heart, unbind the chest, and allow a feeling of safety and connection. Place your fingers on the middle of your sternum (breastbone). Tap 30 times with a medium frequency and pressure.
Repeat the cycle (30 taps on each of the five points) 3–5 more times to create a state of ease.
See also 30 Yoga Sequences to Reduce Stress
Seated Cat Pose
For this gentle seated flow, you can begin in Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), or Double Pigeon. Choose which one feels best for your body and start with your right leg in front or on top. You may also want to place a blanket under your hips to help keep your pelvis in a neutral position, which will help protect your lower back. Use an even, natural breath throughout the practice.
Find the seated posture that works best for your body. Rest your hands on your shins or your knees. On an inhalation, pull your chest forward and extend your neck for Seated Cat Pose.
Seated Cow Pose
Place your right hand behind your right hip and bring your left hand to your right knee as you come into a gentle twist. This will not be your full expression of a twist, but rather an opportunity to emphasize breath into the left lung to unravel stuck emotions. In TCM, every organ system has an emotion associated with it. Grief and sadness are emotions of the lung. Feel your ribs expand on each inhale. Stay for 2 minutes.
See also The Art of Relaxation
Modified Thread the Needle
When you’ve experienced trauma, it is best to open the back of the heart (the space between the shoulder blades), rather than trying to do chest openers that may feel overwhelming. As you fold forward, bring your left arm under the right. Extend your right arm overhead as you rest your forehead on a block. As you allow the shoulder blades to separate, feel the extra space for the breath at the back of your heart. Stay 2 minutes.
Seated Forward Fold with Lateral Stretch
As you fold forward, bring your arms over to the right side. Allow your left hip to be weighted as you extend through the left side of your body. Rest your forehead on a block. Feel the expansion of your left lung and breathe through any stuck emotional energy. Stay 2 minutes.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Place a blanket under your sitting bones to encourage a gentle tipping forward of your pelvis as you extend your legs forward. Inhale to extend your spine out of your pelvis and exhale as you bring your sternum toward your feet. Once you’re at about 50 percent of your maximum stretch, allow your spine to round. Rest your forehead on a block and let your arms be neutral at your sides. Rest for 2 minutes.
Use the strength of your arms to bring you upright. Repeat the practice on the left side.
Heart and Womb Meditation
Come into a comfortable seated position. Place one hand over your heart and the other hand over your uterus/lower abdomen. (In TCM, if an organ is removed, the energy of the organ still remains.)
Gently close your eyes and feel the wave of your breath move both of your hands on each inhale and exhale. When you’re ready, visualize the energy of the inhalation moving from your heart to your womb. On the exhalation, visualize the breath moving from your womb to your heart. Allow your breath and visualization to remove any blockages between your heart and womb, energizing and empowering your connection to both, with your womb being your creative power and your heart being your center of truth. Continue visualizing the breath moving from heart to womb and womb to heart for 5–10 minutes.
About our author
Teresa Biggs, AP, DOM is a board-certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Yoga Medicine Instructor and founder of Biggs Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Naples, Florida. Support the Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation and Purchase-with-Purpose the Yoga Medicine Seva Tank & Pants. Learn more about Teresa at biggsacupuncture.com