A Love Letter to my Yoga Journey
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
I’ve practiced yoga for just over 10 years. It started as a thing to do with friends my senior year of high school, then became a way to get a good workout and sweat on with my friends and boyfriend in college. After graduation, yoga was a weekly ritual for my partner (Blake) and I. We went to the Wednesday night community classes at Hothouse taught by Mimi and Luke and we both began to develop an interest in deepening our practice, working through the foundations and progressions of the asanas. Wednesday nights became Josh’s noon class on Sundays. Yoga was a way to connect with ourselves, each other, and everyone else in the room.
Flash forward a few years and Blake and I are married and expecting our first child. I continued to practice at Hothouse during my pregnancy because it felt damn good to stretch my growing body, but it also helped me feel so connected to my baby. In April 2019 life took an unexpected turn and we found ourselves navigating the world of the NICU with a micropreemie. Leo William was born on April 20th, 2019 and left this Earth on May 3rd, 2019.
My yoga practice really shifted from there. My first class back at the studio was a Thursday night vinyasa with Maureen. We both cried over my loss and she told me, “welcome home” which is exactly how I felt. That class was the first time I’d really been active since delivery, and it was also the first time I felt ALIVE during those initial weeks of loss.
Pregnancy and infant loss can do a number on a woman’s view of her body. I had gone from a place of loving my body and all it could do, to having so much disdain for the body that failed my baby. How could it have pushed my son out too early, so early that he had a slim chance of survival? We won’t ever know the answer to that, but I realized that my yoga practice was a key piece of learning to love my body again. In The Body Keeps the Score, the author talks about yoga as an important piece of healing from trauma, specifically because it helps you be more in your body. I had always heard Maureen talk about the concept of being more in your body, but hadn’t realized what that truly meant until this new chapter of my yoga journey.
Losing Leo gave me the courage to do something I had wanted to for years, complete the Hothouse Yoga teacher training. I knew it was finally time to take this next step, but I had no clue how much it would help my growth and provide support as I moved through grief. I got to know Maureen and Darcy better, which was amazing because I have always admired them. I met a group of people who felt so comfortable to be around. We spent hours breaking down poses, sweating together, taking gorgeous walks, and talking through some of life’s bigger concepts and struggles. We also celebrated the joys in life.
Yoga has been a key component to my healing, yes. But so has connection. I think that’s an incredible way to summarize my experience with the teacher training program. Connection on all levels, including finding a connection to something bigger than myself. I feel called to share my story and provide a space for others to come and move through grief and transition, whatever that may look like for them. Maybe that’s pre or postnatal, maybe it’s while you’re trying to figure out what to do next in life, or maybe you’re just wanting to try something different. I created Lionheart Yogi in honor of my son Leo, which is a manifestation of all that I have learned and experienced, meant to be shared with those who need it. My personal goals are to provide a safe space to land, and develop my skills as a yoga teacher.
I would be remiss not to thank my husband Blake. His support through the teacher training process (and all the food he made for me), means more than he might ever really understand. Maureen, Darcy, Cara, thank you for developing and supporting this program. All my fellow yoga teacher trainers, thank you and I love you. Leo William, thank you for giving me the kick in the ass that I needed to become more myself and follow my heart. And to the soon-to-arrive baby number 2, thank you for growing with me and completing this training together as one.