When my friend Jill of Core Awareness asked me to join her newly formed Yoga for Pregnancy Loss class I signed up immediately – intrigued. While, the concept of the class easily aligns with the work I do – the opportunity to have hands-on experience for making referrals is a bonus – truthfully, I was curious to discover what I might learn about myself and the grieving process through the practice of yoga.
I’ve never taken a yoga class; I still don’t own a pair of yoga pants, choosing to practice in running skirts since that is what is in my closet. Running and biking are the mediums through which I process the majority of my emotions: grief, confusion, anger, and joy.
I grieved my miscarriage on my bike – finding solace as my legs and heart worked in tandem to propel me forward, each pedal stroke taking me deeper into profound grief; there were countless moments when I had to stop and unclip while I sobbed. Eventually peace would find me along the ridge tops where the distant, rolling hills met the horizon. My sanctuary has always been the powerful duo of nature and exercise. So, it is no wonder I’ve never considered yoga with its indoor studios and mats and poses.
Jill has created a deeply healing and safe place. The space inside the studio is a sacred clearing where the heart opens, tears fall, and sobs release. In a culture quick to push grieving to the side and diminish loss with platitudes, the acceptance for where each individual is, in that moment on the mat, is met with compassion. While I am in a different emotional place then my yoga partners, I am humbled and honored to be a witness to their journey through this particular valley. To my left is a woman whose longed-for-darling left her body at seven weeks, on my right is a woman whose sweet fully-formed little one never took a breath outside her womb. The grief is palpable. And so is the healing. And so is the light and love. And so is the resilience.
Seven years ago, while I was deep in the midst of my grief, Jill was just getting her start in the yoga business. It is so beautiful she is here, now, for the members of this class, and those in future classes.
As Jill had us move through the various warrior poses, I was struck by the paradox we were asked to hold, the courage of the warrior while being asked to soften into that courage. I recognized my own way through typically feels like I am charging ahead with spear in hand and a rebel yell. What a gift to be able celebrate what that tendency has brought to me – a strong, lithe body easily able to move into and maintain poses, a ton of will power and determination – and to recognize areas in my life, where softening and vulnerability could use more room to expand.
And what a gift to be able to witness the strength and grace of my yoga partners as they too assumed the various warrior stances; finding inside themselves the courage they need, and will continue to need, in order to meet their current challenge – the grief of pregnancy loss – and to soften into this grief with poise and acceptance. Resilience hung softly in the air at the end of class.