Healing during the holidays

June 19th, 2015 9:15 am

First Posted: 12/16/2014

CLARKS SUMMIT — On Dec. 14, “From Loss to Love: Yoga to Heal the Heart,” Jaya Yoga instructors Cat Maria and Lacey Johnston provided members of our community who have suffered a loss with a means to find peace, especially during this time of year.

Both Maria and Johnston were both touched by loss, especially suicide, and wanted to share their passion for yoga to help others who are grieving to forgive and find love.

“The real goal of the class was to help people experiencing whatever rollercoaster emotions they may have during the holidays due to loss. Not just loss because of a death but job, health, home…,” said Maria. “People begin to, over time, associate the holidays with painful experiences and we are all expected to put this smile on, which makes it even more difficult.”

Proceeds from the $10 donation-based class will benefit the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Maria said she and Johnston chose the organization as a beneficiary because “it is a really fantastic organization that has brought wonderful education programs to our community at no cost.”

“They really do a lot for our community,” she said.

Every 16 minutes somebody dies by suicide, according to Maria. “How many more people are left to pick up the pieces from that?”

She noted the 17 students who participated brought to the class a lot of courage and “we were very respectful of that courage.”

During the 75 minute session, participants practiced five different sequences and visited a negative emotion first followed by a positive opposite emotion.

“Each sequence involved a more open outward posture and ended with a folding forward inward more internal reflection,” Maria said.

For anyone who could not attend the class, but needs healing, Hilary Steinberg, Jaya owner, recommends yoga as a vehicle to rewire mind and body and be able to look inside of oneself. She describes yoga as a mind-body experience.

“Most of us tend to grab a friend and sit down and think that person has the answer. We need to be reminded the answer is inside us. We use yoga as a tool to remind ourselves what we already know…,” she said.

Steinberg has a message to anyone struggling to find a balance of mind, body and spirit. “You’re not alone. Keep coming back. Don’t give up. I think that’s essentially what yoga has to offer every day.”