For many, Mother’s Day is filled with cards, roses and brunch with mom, but if you have lost you mother the day shines a bright, harsh light on your loss, and waves of grief are resuscitated with every smiling family photo you see on your Facebook feed.
My mother passed away due to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) when she was 56.
After her death, I found myself unable to rejoin the land of the living and was bewildered that anyone else, anywhere in the world, could possibly be happy. I reached out to a friend who had lost her father for advice.
“Move,” she said. “Even when you don’t want to. Even when you think you can’t get out of bed.”
After a period of dull heaviness, I took her advice and went to yoga.
Then I went again.
Before my mom’s death, my practice had been limited and irregular—I was a weekend warrior, fitting in a class when I could with my work and travel schedule. But after, I wove my life back together on my mat, one breath at a time, releasing the grip of loss with each exhale.
I took vinyasa or any physically challenging practice I could find to lift and haul out the pain like a bulldozer.
I listened to my inner voice, knowing that looking forward to going to class was a good sign, so I continued. I let myself feel in class, even when feeling was painful. More often than not, I was the girl crying on my mat during savasana.
Towards the end of my mother’s life, her illness left her unable to move and her breathing was difficult. Flowing from pose to pose was my way of giving her movement.
Pumping my stagnant energies and emotions through my body with yoga remains my therapy.
It has been several years since my mother has left this earth, and I am now a certified yoga instructor, and teach others to use asana, breath and meditation to become whole.
Yoga can pull you through and beyond grief, even on days when your loss is magnified by every commercial and Hallmark card you encounter.
Rather than feeling only absence, especially of the person who brought you into the world, yoga can help fill you back up.
When Mother’s Day rolls around again this year, I plan to honor my sweet, strong mom with a sweet, strong yoga practice. And maybe let some tears fall during savasana.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandy Mansfield/ Editor: Travis May
Photo: Rebecca Lamerson