The Best Thing To Do After Divorce Or Breakup: Yoga — According to Bikel & Mandarano, LLP
Divorce, even at its most amicable, can cause an enormous amount of stress, anger, worry, confusion, and resentment. People often struggle to find ways to overcome the negative feelings that face them. However, in a recent study conducted by Amy Weintraub, director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, she found that yoga is the key to helping individuals, who are battling a divorce. It not only improves mood and self-esteem, but also betters emotional regulation.
“Many celebrities, such as Jennifer Anniston, Michelle Williams and Uma Thurman, credit yoga as helping them through their painful divorces or breakups. For everyday people, that concept may sound crazy but there is definitely truth in that. Yoga helps individuals learn to push aside repetitive thoughts and compulsive bad habits,” said Liz Mandarano, a Manhattan family law and divorce attorney at Bikel & Mandarano, LLP and frequent blogger for the Huffington Post Divorce Vertical.
Yoga encourages individuals to concentrate on their own well-being, which helps them handle how they react to others and problematic situations. Ms. Weintraub distinguishes yoga from other forms of exercise on both a physical and mental level. She points out that yoga focuses on present body sensation and emphasizes breath work and ones’ thoughts as integrated with physical movements.
On a philosophical level, yogis believe that each individual is “whole,” and that they can learn to better deal with trauma, stress and anger by understanding that their troubles do not define them.
Ms. Weintraub explains that people will still feel the pain of divorce, but that they can employ thought strategies that allow those negative feelings to pass through their minds as opposed to constantly constricting them. She also notes that group practice settings have great benefits for those suffering an emotional loss or crisis.
There are many forms of yoga that incorporate a wide-range of techniques, ranging from gentle breath work and body movements, to chanting mantras and dharma talks (a public discourse by a Buddhist teacher), to vigorous physical movements with little or no emphasis on spiritually-based talks.
Liz Mandarano adds, “Yoga can sometimes seem unnecessary, time-consuming and expensive to those dealing with a breakup or divorce, especially to those with challenging child care and financial issues. Most people can’t realistically go on a year-long quest for self-identity like Julia Roberts’ character in Eat, Pray, Love, but there are many alternatives to practicing yoga on a budget.”
Liz Mandarano offers a series of solutions:
1. Many yogis and studios practice karma yoga (selfless service), and offer discounted or free yoga classes. In fact, Michelle Williams is so grateful for yoga’s healing powers after the loss of Heath Ledger that she recently started a program called Yoga For Single Moms Project, which offers free yoga classes and simultaneous child care to single parents. (www.yogaforsinglemoms.com).
2. Many studios such as San Francisco’s The Sun Room at Mission Yoga are donation based. (www.missionyoga.com).
3. Stores such as Lululemon offer weekly free community classes (www.lululemon.com) and inexpensive passbooks exist that gain annual access to hundreds of free yoga classes in major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. (www.health-fitness.org).
In addition to her law practice, Liz Mandarano is a yoga teacher and runs a yoga teacher training program. She started yoga in 1998 and has continued ever since. It has progressively helped her handle the challenges of her profession and learn to better handle personal stressors and relationships with others.
Bikel & Mandarano, LLP is a midtown Manhattan-based boutique law firm devoted exclusively to matrimonial, divorce and family law as well as related legal matters such as estate planning. The founding members, Dror Bikel and Liz Mandarano, have a unique combination of strong trial experience, effective negotiation skills, and attention to detail that achieve the best resolution possible. As a boutique venture, the firm seeks creative solutions and invests all of their resources to provide their clients depth and scope of legal expertise in their specialized practice. For more information visit www.bikellaw.com, call 212 682–6333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.