Updated: Sep 4, 2020
I have made no secret lately of the fact that I recently had a miscarriage. I have been talking about it a lot lately because not only do I want to honor the life that was trying to come into the world, but also because I believe that while it is sad and often scary, it is not anything to hide, just as I would never hide the birth of my baby.
As with anything in life we all need our ‘in breaths’ those moments that we meet busy (or in this case an intense emotional space) with stillness and presence.
What I have not shared yet is how hard I found it to meet some of those ‘in breathes’. In the mists of emotional upheaval it can be quite difficult to allow oneself to be and ACCEPT THE NOW. During my healing process I often turned to my old-faithful’s, meditation and yoga.
Mediation was certainly a tool that I accessed while in the throws of miscarriage to try and understand why this was happening (ok, let me be honest, more begging that it not happen). But something did happen during that time. I was guided to this little being where I was ‘let go’ for now: a coping mechanism…maybe. And there were times that none of my proven strategies worked.
Yoga has always been a practice that I partake in to meet my self-care. As a mother of two young children it has provided me much needed personal time. It connects me to my soul. And of course it exercises and heals my physical being. Yoga asks the practitioner to connect with their breath, to connect with the now, and to allow the release of tension and emotions that block our chi from flowing. Two months after the miscarriage I felt strong enough to pick my practice back up. Off to yoga I went to catch my favorite ‘in breath’. It was a complete fail!
Yoga asks the practitioner to connect with their breath, to connect with the now, and to allow the release of tension and emotions that block our chi from flowing. Had I truly allowed the practice of yoga into my space that day I would have broken down in a river of tears, for I was not ready to allow my soul that presence and acceptance. I thought that I would walk into the studio and feel peace as I always had, but instead I was faced with the truth that my body was not in the physical state that I was expecting it to be, rounding and filling with the flutters of another life.
I do not assume that everyone connects with their ‘in breath’ through yoga. Hardly. We are all so varied and find passions in numerous activities. Maybe your ‘in breath’ is found on a bike trail through a lush mountain path, maybe it is running through the neighborhood park, lounging on a boat in the sun, even sitting riverside and listening to the rushing waters. These all sound fancy, but it certainly doesn’t have to be; your ‘in breath’ can be found cleaning (I know there are you Monica Geller types out there). ; ) Stillness and presence can be found in the simple activities of the day; noticing the smiles on your children’s faces, a hug from a friend or your partner, a walk around your block, or reading a book before bedtime.
With my coaching hat on, I stand in the place of encouragement whenever you need an 'in breath'. Reach out for it when you are in need of self-care. Now what if it doesn't work for you like in my case?
LISTEN FOR THE MESSAGE.
Get curious and ask yourself, “What is trying to happen?" Because SOMETHING IS HAPPENING it just might not be in the way you expected. There is a message for you, a learning or calling that your soul is signaling.
I was quite fascinated by the messages that I was receiving during this time about the yoga lifestyle; about constantly staying connected deep within oneself. So I reached out to a dear friend and yoga instructor Tara Kristof from Dallas, Texas to seek some wisdom and insight as to what it means to live the yoga path.
My chat with Tara Kristof:
KL: Thank you Tara for joining me today. The work that you do in the community shows that you have a deep connection to yoga. You are constantly teaching, leading workshops, and retreats. I want to go back a little bit and ask you about your early days of yoga. When did you start practicing?
TK: When I was a young I would watch Lilias Folan do yoga on PBS in the mornings before school. I would follow along with the movement, but I was not aware that it was ‘yoga’. Those early years stuck with me even though I didn’t start practicing and taking classes until my early college days. And still at that time my practice was quite inconsistent. I think one of the turning points for me was when I read Ram Dass’s book Be Here Now, which taught me about the spiritual path of yoga. Around the same time I attended a weekend retreat by Charles MacInerney in Austin, TX. His retreats are so wonderful. He taught me the 8-limbed path of yoga, and about the chakras. I think at that time I attended about 7 of his retreats within as many years. I knew then that I wanted to make this my life’s work eventually. And his retreats still guide me.
KL: So yoga has been in your life for a long time. What made you decide to immerse full time in the yoga lifestyle?
TK: I had been a yoga teacher for 6 years on the side of my full time job when I finally decided that I was ready to bring more synchronicity to my life, concentrate on yoga, and my daughter. Immersing myself on this path allows me to fully live all of the yoga teachings, that being a wholistic and authentic self.
KL: In addition to a variety of yoga classes that you teach through the Dallas community you also teach meditation classes. If I were to come to one of your mediation classes what could I expect?
TK: Yes, I teach an 8-week Mindfulness Mediation series. There are several different kinds of mediation theories; our framework is mindfulness meditation. Within that we also explore different meditations related to the 7 chakras and “try them out” so that each student finds what style resonates with them. So it’s not about exploring particular ‘issues’ or visualizing the future. It is about connecting with the present moment through one’s breath. The key is to using your breath as an anchor. Everyone is welcome in my mediation series. I have beginners attending as well as experienced practitioners.
KL: Ok, I am so excited to ask you about the retreats that you offer. I see online all the time that you are continually working on a new project. As a mother of two young children I was particularly intrigued by your Restorative Mother’s Retreat. Tell me more about that and the other ones you have on your calendar.
TK: The Restorative Mother’s Retreat started as a way to offer mothers a time to connect with themselves. I partnered with Courtney Pinkerton, a local life coach, and we created a program that fully catered to pampering moms. I offered restorative yoga and Courtney offered enneagraming. And after we fed them a nutritious lunch all the moms had time to take a walking mediation. Our goal was to offer them a day retreat, close enough to Dallas that they could get their kids to and from school but far enough to relax in nature. I feel that nature is extremely important and often missing from our lives.
Currently I am working on two different types of retreats. One is a full-weekend women’s yoga and meditation retreat I am co-teaching with my friend Shana Stein. This will be our third retreat together and we have so much fun. This retreat includes discussions on yoga philosophy, meditation, creative play and asana practices of several different styles. The second retreat I am partnering with my friend Adriane Wolf who is an amazing Kundalini teacher. We will lead two of these in 2015. I love to partner with other teachers and work as a team. We all have so much to learn from one another.
KL: Tara, that is such an amazing gift to moms, as you know with a six year-old at home yourself.
TK: It is so important for everyone to take care of themselves. We must take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. That is one of the foundations of this life path and what yoga has taught me, to be fully aware of the now, to take care of myself mind, body, and soul. We have to fill our cup so that we have a place to give and serve from.
KL: I hear that it is really important for you to meet each student where they are in their personal practice. I can so visualize your retreat. My muscles are relaxing and my mind calming just hearing about it. One of my favorite topics in life is food and I have noticed that food is a focus for you at your retreats and workshops. As a foodie myself I am curious where this passion stems from.
TK: An aspect of the retreat that I love so much is to feed people. In reading the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba--which is a lineage I sort of fell into along my path—his emphasis is “feed everyone” and that sort of stuck with me. I love to nourish people, and especially on retreat.
KL: Tell me, what do you see in your future?
TK: I would love to continue to cultivating community. I want to continue to lead and organize retreats—with other teachers and also solo, lead workshops, teacher trainings in addition to my regular classes. I would at some point like to have a teacher support group which I feel is important but missing. I’d like to start a book club eventually as well.
KL: Book club...interesting. Do you have any books that you can recommend?
TK: There are so many. My bookshelf at home overflows! And yes, I’d say that two of the most impactful books for me have been, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman.
KL: I mentioned earlier that I have found my ‘in breath’ through yoga. It has certainly played a large part in my miscarriage experience. I know that it does the same for you in your daily life. My question is have you faced any adversities or transitions in life that you can share where yoga was the tool that you turned to for support?
TK: Yes—through yoga I have learned the tool of observing the self. Being aware of what I am doing and thinking and saying, where before I was much more mindless. It’s a constant practice. This practice has helped me in numerous encounters with people and one of my biggest personal practices is not taking things personally. That’s a big one! Being able to take a big breath in and exhale out slowly has also helped my anxiety tremendously.
KL: What have been your greatest discoveries through all of this, your personal practice and your teaching experience?
TK: That we all have different needs. That simple is better. That there is no rush in life. That people are doing the best we can and that we can all use less judgment, more compassion, and more love. Yoga has taught me to slow down and create more space and “free time” in my life. My daughter has taught me this as well.
To learn more about Tara Kristof and her programs check out her website at: www.tarakristof.com
To a Confident, Sexy, Love filled life! Kimberly Lindsay, BA, CPCC, ORSCC, IBCLC
Mental Fitness Coach for Spiritual & Creative Moms:
Who are ready to ditch their saboteurs so they can show up
as the partner, parent, and person they want to be - getting back to self and back to roots.