A Conversation with Wendy Stern, GSN’s Executive Director

head shot - Wendy Stern

Wendy Black Stern, PRYT, CYT is the Founder & Executive Director of The Grief Support Network. Wendy has spent the past decade empowering her clients to look within themselves to find the wisdom that they seek.  She is the founder and executive director of the Grief Support Network and has a private practice in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Wendy also teaches yoga classes, teacher trainings, and Phoenix Rising groups for grief support and self-empowerment. Learn more about Wendy and the rest of GSN’s Board of Directors here.

allison-litchfieldAlison Litchfield, CR, RYT500, has devoted 22 years to being a student and teacher of yoga. She integrates many styles into her teaching, weaving ashtanga, vinyasa flow, and tantric philosophy, with her understanding as a certified rolfing practitioner of structural integration. She helps people release blocked energy and discover a greater connection to joy and peace. Learn more about Alison’s work at www.embodyradiance.com.

Wendy and Alison will be co-presenting our upcoming Moving Through Grief… Together meeting. Wendy shares some of her intentions for this meeting below.

Tell us more about your upcoming presentation for GSN’s Moving Through Grief… Together meeting:

This meeting will  take you on a journey from Grief to Gratitude, using yoga and meditation as tools to connect you with your breath, body and emotions.  We will explore and release the ways that grief is held in our bodies and learn practices that increase vitality, flexibility, and self awareness, offering a sanctuary for deep personal reflection, acceptance and self-empowerment.   This  experience will offer you a taste of GSN’s new Yoga Program, which we will be launching this coming fall. Through movement, we invite you to be present to your grief and to awaken to your potential to heal and transform.

What do you hope that others take away from your presentation?

My hope is for people to become more aware of  the thoughts, feelings and sensations that live in their bodies and to receive the inner wisdom that is available once we can slow down and turn our attention inward.  By practicing yoga together in community, you will have the opportunity to be supported by the collective energy of our shared experience, allowing you to feel supported as you are present with your grief, move through it with courage and release the residue of old stories, trauma and suffering that no longer serve you.  The intention of this presentation is for you to have a sacred space to fully embody your grief so that you can heal, transform and experience greater freedom and joy in your life. 

Why is your topic important for healing from grief and loss?

Yoga and Mediation are powerful tools for healing from grief and loss.  Mindfulness, body centered  practices such as these, intentionally bring your attention into your body and provide incredible release of the emotions and tensions that are held inside.  By becoming more aware of your thoughts feelings, body sensations and story, you are better able to allow your grief to move through you so that you can come to a place of acceptance and peace.  Bringing people into their bodies in a safe, supportive environment also opens up the channels for clear, honest communication and sharing from one’s heart, which brings us closer together as a community and supports us as we learn and grow together. 

yoga-programShare one way that YOU practice personal self-care:

My daily mediation and yoga practice has literally saved my life.  Each day, when I arrive on my mat, I have the opportunity to connect with myself, with my true essence and innate sense of oneness with all beings, which supports me to be more grounded, calm and focused in my day.  I love the feeling of stretching, opening, and feeling strong in my body.   Yoga helps my energy to flow and my body and mind to awaken.  I also enjoy practicing yoga in classes, because I  often feel energized and inspired by the collective energy that happens when we practice yoga together in community.  I notice on the days that I do not practice that I feel foggy, sometimes even depressed and disconnected from myself and the people in my life.  Yoga has been my greatest tool in healing from grief, because it has taught me how to slow down, nurture myself, listen deeply,and let go of  my suffering and pain.

Provide a few focus questions for our community to meditate on and discuss in our group sharing after your presentation:

  1. When you bring your attention to your breath, allowing it to naturally flow through your body, what do you notice?
  2. When you check in with your body in an open, non judgmental way, what do you notice?
  3. What effect does your meditation and yoga practices have on your thoughts, feelings,body and spirit?
  4. What do you learn about yourself when you are fully present in the moment that you are in?