The Power To Choose:
Dealing With Loss Through Yoga

Contributed by Certified Baptiste Teacher, Affiliate Studio Owner, and Fit To Lead Participant, Rachel Nelson.

Loss. It’s something we all experience at some point in our lives. None of us is immune to it, yet it is something we all seem to adamantly resist. We often believe that if we resist or deny it then it won’t happen.

On February 6th, at 36 weeks pregnant, my husband and I found out that our baby boy, Avery, no longer had a heartbeat. I had lost my unborn child. Everything seemed surreal as I sat in the doctor’s office crying with my husband. I remember wondering if this was a dream, if I would wake up. I could feel the pain and grief creeping in and flooding me, wanting to envelop me and take me over.

Suddenly, I felt my body: my hands, my feet, my breath. I became more present than I had felt in my entire life. In those moments of feeling my physical body, I had an immense amount of clarity. I saw I had three choices in front of me: I could resist or deny what was happening and go down that path; I could choose to blame and become overtaken by pain and grief; and I also saw how if I chose to allow —to be with everything just as it was and invite this experience in to my heart in all its fullness—what that would lead to and create for me.

With this clarity, I knew if I chose the first two options the path would be a very dark one. As a yoga teacher and leader, I teach people to give up resistance; not to be victims who are defined by their circumstances. I teach presence: to see that we all, always, have a choice and say in the matter; that we are the only ones who stand in our own way.

If I was to choose not to practice what I teach in the moments when it is most needed, I wouldn’t be who I say I am or what I say I stand for. If chose not to put all the tools I have received into action, in that precise moment, when they are most needed, then what good are they? I had a choice. I knew that there was nothing I could do to change what was happening, and the more I accepted that, and allowed myself to stay with the experience—rather than resist or deny it—I was able to access peace and gratitude.

My husband and I moved forward with a commitment and resolve to choose acceptance, love and gratitude. As we chose to induce labor and later meet our sweet Avery at 2:59am on February 7, 2015, I practiced putting my words into action. During labor, as I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, as I knew my son would be brought into this world without taking a breath, I chose acceptance, love and gratitude moment to moment. I still choose them everyday.

I know for sure, that I would not have been able to say any of this or to even be able to write or talk about my loss if not for Baptiste Yoga and the amazing community of Baptiste Yogis. This practice truly does work, if you do the work. During my time after Avery was born, and every day since, I am able to see how the methodology really works in so many amazing ways both on and off the mat. Even in my moments of sadness, I can still be a yes for what I want: love, joy and connection. When I give up any fixed perceptions of how I think things “should” be and choose to really listen, I get to access so much more possibility within the world and myself. When I get present to my physical body, I access clarity; through clarity, I feel empowered to be and let be. I see that I always have the power to choose.

By being a part of the Baptiste Yoga community, I have both accessed and learned to accept support, love and connection. When you want to hide, or be alone, or not share, that’s when it’s most important to be in community. To create connection. To let yourself be vulnerable and seen. You are not alone and neither am I.