Using Yoga to Cope With Sudden Job Loss

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By Merryl Reichbach • November 30th, 2012 • 12243 Views

Using Yoga to Cope With Sudden Job Loss

When I learned that the clinic where I provided psychotherapy to children, adolescents and their families in the South Bronx was closing for good, it felt like a punch in the gut. I’d never been unemployed before. I left jobs--jobs didn’t leave me! Million of people have suffered recent job loss but I had no idea how devastating it could be for me.

After I first heard the news I went home and laid on my bed for a long time, stunned. A small voice in my head said “go lay down there on your mat.” I moved off my bed to my yoga mat and did Savasana, corpse pose, with my bolster under my knees to support them. Finally I was able to cry. I rolled over into child’s pose and then, spent, pushed up into downward dog. The world was falling apart around me but I could hold myself up. The attention that normally flowed outward turned inward. I focused on ujjayi breathing, on ensuring my weight was evenly distributed over my hands and that my hamstrings were stretching out but not overly so.  Attending to downward dog took all my attention and I was grateful for it. I could not control my livelihood. But I could manage each moment-to-moment experience in my body at this time. 

It’s been two weeks since I learned my full time job was ending. I am continuing to breathe through it on the mat. I am using yoga to cope with something that is not going to be easily or quickly resolved. 

When I’m feeling depressed and/or anxious, I do the Rick Coe videos that address those issues. They help a lot. Some days when I feel so drained from saying goodbye to my patients that I can’t even imagine moving but know I need what it can give me, I alternate with child’s pose, downward dog and upward dog. Repeating this sequence even just a few times helps me release stress and grief. Then I finish with one of Bernie Clark’s meditations on emotions, thoughts or sensations.

As the new reality settles in and I approach my final days at the clinic, I am drawn to the power yoga educational videos. New material stimulates my brain and gets me excited about starting a fresh chapter in my life. I draw comfort...


Merryl Reichbach

Location:  New York, US

Merryl Reichbach, LMSW, ACE, MA. She is a Clinical Social Worker and art therapist with children, teens and their families at an outpatient mental health clinic in the South Bronx. She also has a private practice...