By Kari Kemper
Mother’s Day is a time to acknowledge our mothers, our mother figures, all mother figures who have come before us, and those who are no longer with us. It is also important to acknowledge those who had to mother themselves.
All of us are caregivers. We can be male and female. With children or without. Just being on this earth and in relationship with others, we become nurturers by default.
I am very fortunate to have a loving relationship with my own mother, who is still healthy and thriving. I know this is not the case for many. I see and have experienced second hand the complications of an unhealthy parent-child relationship. Where the child must parent themselves or rely on others for guidance
My grandmothers, great grandmother, aunt, great aunts were/are strong women who were always part of my childhood. I grew up as an only child and found that not only did I find close friends and made them “siblings” I also had several “aunties”, along with my grandparents who were always there for me. As bonus mamas, these women were close friends with my mother or my friends’ mothers and created their own tribe of nurturers for all the children in this tight-knit group. Many of these women have passed or are in the process of passing, something that is not lost on me, knowing what will eventually happen – that the matriarchs will not be around to guide me in my later years. I am ever so grateful to have had them in my life.
This matriarchal line continues outside of my blood line and bonus mamas. As a mother myself, I surrounded myself with strong women who had children of the same age. We became the “aunties” to each other’s children, there to cheer them on and be there to comfort them when things did not go as planned.
We have experienced great loss and suffering within our tribe of “mothers”. We had to call our inner nurturer, our inner mother & channel this sacred energy to heal ourselves and to hold that healing space for another.
What is our sacred energy? It is the Yin within us.
The Yin (or feminine) is the receiving, passive and internal energy. Associated with the right hemisphere of the brain, this energy engages your feelings and intuition, is active when we are nurturing ourselves, using your imagination, and at peace with what is.
In yoga, we have Yin and Yang focused practices. Yin energy shows up in slower paced, reflective practices. Restorative puts you in a rest and digest state and Yin Yoga works the deep, dense connective tissues and joints in the body. Yang yoga, in contrast, refers to a more active practice, working on the muscles and blood flow, building strength, stamina and flexibility. Yang styles of yoga are those with rhythm and repetition like Vinyasa Flow.
For a balanced yoga practice, it is suggested to practice both Yin and Yang. And as in life, these principles complement each other. Keeping us grounded while moving forward.
I have found at Sellwood Yoga the Yin energy is strong. Our community continues to support every person who enters the door whether it is in conversation, movement or just holding space and being there.
I invite all of you (male and female) to join me on Sunday, May 7th from 5:00-7:30pm for an Extended Yin Practice to hold space together to honor our mothers, “aunties”, “bonus Mamas”, our support systems, and the mother in all of us.