A special yoga event will give motherless Clevelanders the gift of remembrance on Mother's Day

In many homes, Mother's Day means smiling children, fresh flowers, and homemade breakfast-in-bed. But for families facing loss, their mom might be a lifetime away. Yoga to Remember offers a remembrance event on Thursday, May 9, at St. John’s Episcopal Church to honor the memory of mothers—or any loved one—who is missed.

Now in its fifth year, this yoga-based support group is designed to ease the discomforts of those who are in any stage of grief. Through a candle-lighting ceremony, music, and a gentle focus on the mind, body, and breath, attendees are encouraged to “take a deep dive” into their feelings, instead of escaping them.

“Through gentle yoga and guided meditation, we learn how to process our emotions in a new way, ” says Becky Verner, certified yoga teacher and grief advocate, who is the founder of the event. “We recognize those areas in our lives that we can control and let go of those we can’t.“

Verner knows the grief process firsthand, having lost her mother, Mary Jane Verner, at age 10. “Grieving isn’t a sequence; it’s more of a cycle. We experience our loss differently as we grow older,” she shares. 

Restorative yoga and other forms of therapy have helped Verner cope with her complicated feelings of grief over the last 20 years. “Through Yoga to Remember and my work as a grief advocate, I honor the woman my mother never got to be,” says Verner.

Verner believes that it’s easier to experience difficult feelings when you are surrounded by an authentic, connected community. To that end, she is a facilitator for the “Cleveland Motherless Daughters” private Facebook support group. The group is based on the national organization Motherless Daughters, led by best-selling author Hope Edelman and Claire Bidwell Smith.

Verner is also a child grief advocate at Joel’s Place for Children, which provides peer-support groups for school-aged children who have experienced the death of a loved one. At the core of her life work is her extensive training in the yoga practice and 200-hour yoga certification.

Yoga To Remember will honor the memory of mothers and other loved ones, while supporting those who are grieving their loss. It is a donation-based event, with the majority of the funds donated to Joel’s Place for Children. The event is offered around Mother’s Day and the December holiday season.

The upcoming event takes place Thursday, May 9, from 6:45 to 8 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church (2600 Church Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113). The group meets in the space above Vision Underground, and signage will be displayed. 

Read more articles by Cindy Hill.

Cindy Hill is a freelance writer based in Shaker Heights. She enjoys telling the stories of impact makers—the organizations and businesses that keep Cleveland at the forefront of innovation. For more than 22 years, she has produced award-winning curriculum, proposals, books, and articles, driven by her insatiable curiosity to find out “what’s next.”
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