On the evening of Friday Aug 17 and the morning of Sunday August 19, 2018, AHPCA was pleased to host its first ever Grief Yoga event.
In spring 2017, AHPCA member Clarissa Maitri Snyder attended the AHPCA Roadshow in Okotoks. Clarissa, a grief yoga instructor in Germany, was back in her home province of Alberta to care for a terminally ill family member. She connected with AHPCA staff and offered to write a blog article about grief yoga. When Clarissa planned a trip home to Alberta in summer 2018, we decided to go a step further and hold a grief yoga class.
Around 20 people in total participated in the classes, including family caregivers, community members, and health care professionals like nurses, massage therapists, and even a laughter yoga practitioner. After starting with some foundation work, Clarissa led the groups through several types of breath work and some release movements using powerful metaphors before flowing into a section of laughter yoga and finally a divine light invocation and meditation.
This was amazing! Great yoga – so gentle I was able to follow! Loved the spiritual part in it. Thank you for your gifts. – Grief Yoga Participant
Most participants had never tried grief yoga before; a few had not even tried yoga! Clarissa designed the course to be inclusive for all levels and abilities and it worked. Along with some heavy moments, everyone learned about laughter rockets and how to smile as if they were holding a pencil sideways in their mouth.
I realized regrets that I never knew I had. I learned basic poses, breathing and found that yoga is not as scary as I thought it would be. Thank you. This was very beneficial and helped bring me out of my shell. – Grief Yoga Participant
Loved the class! Great idea. I have been doing yoga for 8 years and have never taken this type of class. Learned a lot, feel great! – Grief Yoga Participant
Enjoyed the release of anger and chains and then the great transition to laughter, joy, peace. – Grief Yoga Participant
Participants went home with gift bags that included beautiful mandala bracelets donated by Chelsey Deschamps of Lava Lily Designs.
AHPCA is grateful to both Clarissa Maitri Snyder and Chelsey Deschamps; this event could not have happened without you. Thank you Clarissa, Chelsey and all of our participants for giving us your time and opening your hearts to something new.