Keep Breathing–My Yoga Epiphany

I went to a yoga class tonight with my friend, Karen. She has been encouraging me to go, because I have been a slug for months. My sluggishness has led to high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and weight gain. I haven’t written like I usually do. I feel stuck. Every fall I get like this and it feels harder and harder to get out of this melancholic rut. Here it is the beginning of the year and I’m still struggling.

In the beginning of class, the instructor, whose name is Kayla, asked us to think of an intention. Mine was health and healing. The class was physically hard for me. At one point I had to bend my right knee and on an inhale lift my left leg straight up toward the ceiling. On the exhale I crossed my left foot behind and past my right and pressed the ball of my left foot on the floor.

Kayla said to not give up, to breathe louder through the pain and our thoughts. She said to stomp out whatever is stopping us in any area of our lives. I thought about what is stopping me from living to my full potential.


That one word sprung up in my mind, grasped my heart and took my breath away.  But then I inhaled, refusing to give up. When I exhaled, I stomped grief into the floor. I did it over and over and over and over again. It was emotionally exhausting. The physical pain of doing this exercise was nothing compared to the mental anguish of my grief.

At the end of class I lay on the mat with a cool cloth over my eyes. I thought about how grief controlled my life and how I didn’t want that. The pain of missing Nick paralyzes me. When grief doesn’t overpower me, I am able to follow the path of my soul. I live with clarity, joy and empowerment. My words are freed.

I took a deep breath.

The thought that I wished Nick was here flitted into my mind bombarding me with pain.

My chest tightened.

Then I thought about how I love Stephen for who he is, not for who I wish him to be. With Nick I only wish he was here physically. I asked myself, “Why aren’t I loving him as he is right now?”

My chest tightened even more.

If I loved Nick for who he is, then he could live in that love and fulfill his journey instead of trying to be who I want him to be. Isn’t that what happens with our children sometimes? We push them to do and be what we think is best. Sometimes we do know, but with the greater picture only they can know. We should love them despite where their journey leads.

Of course I have expectations of my children. I expect Stephen to be a good person and make the world a better place. I expect Nick to travel wherever his spirit may lead him, but send me signs that he is still with me. But don’t they expect me to take care of myself so I can be with them and stay connected to them no matter where they are?

Chest getting tighter.

My job, my mission as their mother is to help them fulfill their soul’s journey and to love them unconditionally.

With these amazing thoughts came a mantra:

I will not be controlled by my grief.
I follow my soul’s path.
I love my children for who they are, not who I wish them to be.
I will help them with their soul’s journey.

My chest is still tight, so I repeat it again and my chest starts to loosen.

I repeat it again, stronger in my mind.


One more time I say the words, feeling them deep in my soul, and I can breathe. I feel lighter.

I am energized and will repeat this mantra with daily deep breathes in the hope that it will help me with my grief. The pain of missing my child is and always will be there, but only I can choose how I will live with it.

Thank you Karen. Keep bugging me.