As a child, growing up in Brazil, I remember Mother’s day being a very sad holiday for me. My mom passed away when I was 3 and I was raised by my aunt, who never made an effort to be loving – maybe she couldn’t, who knows what traumas she was dealing with.

Back then, at school, the Friday before Mother’s day, there used to be a party to which all mothers were invited: the kids would sing songs honoring their moms, and offer hand-made gifts. My aunt never went to one of those, she didn’t think it was important. And I remember crying every single time, I could feel my little heart shrinking a few inches by seeing all those moms there, while I sang the well rehearsed songs alone. And I still get emotional on Mother’s day celebrations. Just last week, my niece posted a video of her daughter’s Mother’s Day party and that brought back memories.

Fast forward several years, and here I am. I made the decision not to have kids. Therefor, I don’t have a mother and I am not a mother. What’s to celebrate? Well… a lot, in fact!

To me, being a mother is about loving and nurturing. And that I can do effortlessly! There are different ways of being a mother. For example, I come from a very tight knit family. All my sisters (and brother) have kids. And we often step in for one another, being mothers to each other’s kids at different times, in different ways.

My nieces and nephews often reach out to me for guidance or simply for support or a word of encouragement. I relish in their accomplishments, worry about them, root for them and support them in any way I can, even from the distance.

Yesterday, my dear friend Sandy sent me this beautiful essay, which starts like this: “Those of us who are truly lucky have more than one mother. They are the cool aunts, the elderly ladies, the family friends, even the mentors who whip us into shape.” You can read it in full here. I like to think that I am the cool aunt!

Then, there’s the fur babies. I have 3 cats, and they are my little loves. They are funny, interesting, challenging, loving and full of personality. Those of you who take my classes often have “met” Gracie, my youngest, who likes to “participate”, by climbing on me while I am trying to teach. Each day with my fur babies softens and opens my heart a little bit more. They show me a depth of love I didn’t know existed.

Being a mother can also mean birthing something other than a human being. A project, an idea, a community. Studio 108 is also my baby and I am proud of the community I birthed. I feel responsible for everyone’s wellbeing and comfort, and I am always encouraging growth, nurturing our community each day.

So, whether you birthed a human baby or not, I hope you had a beautiful mother’s day. And even if your biological mom is no longer around, or you have a difficult relationship with her, think of all the other mothers in your life, the cool aunts, the mentors, the friends who love you but don’t think twice before kicking your butt, if that’s what you need. Like a good mother would do!

Love exists in a lot of different shapes and forms, and all are valid.

2 Responses

  1. Reseda-You are a wonderful mother to Studio 108! Time to celebrate yourself!

  2. Reseda-You are a wonderful mother to Studio 108! Time to celebrate yourself!

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!